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Review: Tomato Girl

August 30, 2008

At 11 years old, Ellie Sanders is forced to grow up before most people.  Her mother is mentally ill and Ellie is often forced to accept the role of care-giver.  She says

Mama, like me, loves fragile things, but she can hurt them when she’s troubled.  Sometimes something comes over her, and she doesn’t realize what she’s doing, or how it will turn out bad.

When Ellie’s mother falls and is hospitalized, her father brings home “the tomato girl” to run the household.  The tomato girl is her father’s lover and begins to take over the household.  When Ellie’s mother comes home from the hospital, the tomato girl stays and things really start to spiral downward.  Ellie is torn between pleasing her mother or her father. She struggles to maintain some normalcy in world that is spinning out of control.

I’ve heard Mama say there is nothing more disappointing than an ordinary life, but I don’t know.  Sometimes an ordinary life is what I want most in the world.

Ellie is the narrator of the story and my heart just ached for her.  I could not put this book down, but also hated for it to end.  It is one of the best books I have read in a while, and I’ve read some good ones.  It is hard to believe that Tomato Girl is Jayne Pupek‘s first novel.  She is currently working on her second one, and I look forward to reading it.  Jayne will be featured on Library Thing’s author chat from September 3rd through 17th.

Check back tomorrow for a chance to win an autographed copy of this book or purchase Tomato Girl from amazon.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2008 10:09 am

    I would love to enter this….The book sounds good!

  2. Kaye permalink
    August 31, 2008 10:55 am

    This sounds really interesting although it kind of takes me back to when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I had just turned 13. A distressing time. i would like to see how Ellie copes with it all.

  3. September 4, 2008 11:57 am

    My mom was sick when I was a kid. That was hard. I think I’d like to read this one.

  4. September 14, 2008 11:06 pm

    This was a compelling and tragic book…just finished and reviewed on my site. What an amazing debut by this author…

  5. September 17, 2008 7:29 pm

    Jayne was so gracious that she sent me a copy of this book per a request I sent. This sounds really good and I will be starting it tonight. Thanks for the great review.

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