Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek

Review

Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek

Fiction, Hardcover, 298 pgs.

Algonquin Books (August 2008)


I expected to relate to this story but was unsure about how much I'd enjoy the telling of it. Like Ellie I was once an eleven year old girl with overwhelming responsibilities and an unpredictable parent who needed more help than I could offer. But I really loved this book. The voice of this girl rang true for me, with all her hopes and fears. Children as protagonists or narrators in adult novels don't always impress me as real. Ellie was exactly right.
This book will sit proudly on my shelf with Ellen Foster and Me & Emma, the two other books whose little girls have stuck me as totally believable. While Ellen Foster is older and more precocious, and Carrie is younger and more confused, eleven year old Ellie in Tomato Girl is a very normal girl. But she is helpless from a combination of neglect and more responsibility than most adults can cope with. In fact it is her own father who saddles her with taking care of an unstable mother, something he himself cannot always handle appropriately. Ellie just wants to be part of a normal family and is never quite sure of herself.
Tomato girl is a touching story, about adults distracted by their own problems and desires while a young girl grows up trying to navigate the convoluted and unpredictable ways of adult behaviour. Sad in places, but uplifting too, it is a delightful story and one that I will read again. One of my favourite novels of the past year.
Five stars. I recommend it highly.

Jayne Pupek's website

Algonquin Books

Thank you to Jayne for the lovely review copy she sent me.

Tomato Girl will be counted toward my LibraryThing Author Challenge 2009.

16 comments:

  1. I'm glad you loved this book, because I loved it, too. Jayne is such a nice author, too.

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  2. Great Review! I loved the book too. Jayne is super nice and such a gracious author.

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  3. I'm glad you liked this book. It was one of my favorites this year.

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  4. I'm really interested in reading this book. Glad to see that you presented another positive review. :)

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  5. I also thought this book was beautifully written, although disturbing at times. Fine review!

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  6. Sorry for posting off-topic...

    I wanted to invite you to participate in my ‘Question of the Week’ feature. (Part of the Operation Actually Read Bible challenge)You don’t have to–no obligation implied–but it’s there if you want to take part. It will be a weekly event on my blog--every Tuesday.

    Becky

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  7. I've already got this on my wish list - I've read so many great reviews of it!

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  8. You're right on target with your comments on this book, Sandra! Ellie was 100% real to me.

    I've had a hard time putting my thoughts into words for this book, so my review is lacking. Jayne is so gracious, I really ought to just sit and write it today!

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  9. Thanks for the recommendation...this is currently in the TBR pile.

    I've given you an award!

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  10. I loved this book too when I read it last year. I kept saying Poor Ellie. Poor, poor Ellie.

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  11. I think you're right; it's unusual to find a book where they get the child protagonist exactly right. I'll have to look this one up.

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  12. Tomato Girl was my #1 book for 2008. I LOVED the narrator.

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  13. ...please where can I buy a unicorn?

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  14. We share similar ties to this book ...

    I loved the duel personality of Tomato Girl, such a devastaitingly sad story made beautiful with exquisite imagery.

    Thank you for reading and commenting on my review, Sandra. I'll edit to include your review link.

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  15. I love the cover of this book and definitely need to read it. The title itself is enticing.

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  16. This book has been languishing on my Wish List since it first came out. I really enjoy stories told from a child's point of view. I think it's time to make reading this one a priority!

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