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Friday, April 29, 2011

Ready, Set, ACTION: Trauma Queen by Barbara Dee

Here's hoping that your weekends are filled with nothing but fun and relaxation....and if not, you at least get a little me time.  Don't forget TODAY is the FINAL DAY to enter for your chance to win a copy of The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander with a SIGNED bookplate!  Entries accepted through midnight CST tonight (04/29/11).  Also, TOMORROW marks the end of our second contest running right now.  You're chance to win a copy of Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip ends 04/30/11 so don't delay.  Just click on the links in the right hand tool bar under "Current Contests" to be whisked right to the entry pages.  Anywho, moving on....

I myself had a rare day off yesterday though I was still unable to be anywhere near a computer (darn running around...and stressful events....*grumble*) but I did manage to get in a little extra reading (whoo-HOO!).  Ironically, both books deal highly with emotional situations and display the role families play in the successful overcoming of such events for better or worse.  It got me to thinking about a title I read not so long ago that I have yet to share with you.  It came to me from the author herself, Ms. Barbara Dee.  For those that have been to my site previously, you may remember my review of another title from this author's repertoire last year (This Is Me From Now On) and while the stories are different, the positive family elements remain the same.  Ready for the "big reveal"?  Today's book of choice is....


Marigold Bailey wants what every other thirteen girl simply fit in.  Middle school can be a rough time for anyone growing up but for her, things are a bit complicated.  Let's see, for starters, this is her third school in the past few years and not because of her lack of academic potential either.  Her mother is a performance artist and while her acts may be entertaining to some, they are not to all (and embarrassing to a child to say the least)...and sometimes, just sometimes get a bit TOO personal.  "Actions may speak louder than words" and "names may never hurt you" but combined they can and do harm those they are aimed at....such as Mari's friend Emma and her mother.  Oh what's a parent to do when everything they try to accomplish turns out so horribly wrong?  Running away may work for the time being but uprooting your family no matter how small can be taxing on everyone especially those whose bonds of friendship are already stretched to the limit.  Will Marigold and her mother find that common thread to pull them through?  Or are mother and daughter destined to be at odds forever more?  Sounds to me like someone has a lot to learn....but who?

With an easy flowing writing style, this book falls into the "quick read" category perfect for a weekend reminder of what being a family truly means.  I saw a lot of my own mother in Ms. Bailey, ironically enough...especially in the opening scenes with Marigold's wardrobe malfunction (her mother thought it was Spirit Week making it Pajama Day and wasn't...).  Her mother rushes to her rescue, just not quite the way Mari would have liked.  You can see that her mother sincerely loves her but in all the embarrassment of the moment her eyes are blinded to her efforts.  I think that happens a lot as we are growing up to each and every one of us.  We love our parents but we never truly appreciate them for all that they do until time passes and we can see those old situations in a new light.  Grant it, they never truly shed their embarrassing undertones, but they do help us gain a new insight into the love shared within a family. 

Aside from the mother daughter aspect of the story that takes most of the center stage, there was much more to be pondered.  On the fun side, I loved the theater aspects woven into the story.  You really got a feel of what life as a performance artist would be well as learned a few fascinating techinques to try on your own time.  On a more serious note, I really appreciated the way that her friend Emma was portrayed.  Her feelings were really hurt by what happened and the fading away for a time was realistic to what might have occurred in real life should the same situation be encountered.  Often times things of this nature are glossed over for the stories sake but here it was used as a lesson to be learned from and built upon.  Also, the family structure wasn't all good nor all bad.  There was a real history of that initial spark and its being extinguished over time as well as fireworks (not always the good kind) upon future meetings.  Again, it reflected real life and makes it that much more accessible to readers as it showed love in its many forms. 

In the end, it was a heart felt story about growing up and seeing your family for all its worth not just what you want it to be.  Acceptance of all our supposed flaws for better or worse, and understanding that our parents more often than not are simply doing the best that they can.  It's not like we were born with an instruction manual you know, though I'm certain they'd love it if we were.  Some are better prepared than others, but it doesn't mean that the "free spirit" can't be the parent of your dreams.  Love goes a long way in healing those unintentional wounds caused by merely trying to get things does a little understanding.

Barbara Dee

Recommended read for young readers through adults.  It touches on issues of growing up and family from a realistic point of view without an inclusion of controversial topics or language.  This book was released earlier this month from Simon & Schuster, so be on the look out for it on a bookstore shelf near you.  Review copy received courtesy of author Barbara Dee.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this inspiring author, feel free to visit her website, blog, follow along on Twitter, or check out the new VYOU site/feature where you can ask the author a question and get a VIDEO response!  (How cool is that, right?)

Until next time...have a great weekend...and happy reading!


Misha said...

My sister reviewed this book - she loved it! I haven't read it yet, but I plan to. I love books involving mother-daughter relationships.

Barbara Dee said...

Thank you, Gina, for this very wonderful, thoughtful review! I'm so touched by the way you connected with the characters! (And yes, as a mom, sometimes I wish I had an instruction manual!)

The1stdaughter said...

Yay! Another fabulous read by Barbara Dee. Seriously, I need to read her other books as well. I'm so glad you connected me with her writing on her last book, This Is Me From Now On. Thank you!

And as usual, lovely review! I adored the mother-daughter relationship she created as well and the whole idea of an instruction manual...umm, yeah. Where is it when you need it? lol

Fab review as always! :o)

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