Better to Wish

Ann M Martin, Author
Ann M. Martin. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-545-35942-9
Compact Disc - 4 pages - 978-0-8041-2232-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-8041-2230-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-5249-0
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Martin (Ten Rules for Living with My Sister) paints an authentic picture of white middle-class life during the 1930s in this first installment of the Family Tree series, tracing four generations of American girls. Growing up in Maine, eight-year-old Abby Nichols is the oldest daughter of an ambitious carpenter eager to realize the American Dream. But his prejudices are strong, too: he won’t let Abby associate with her Irish Catholic neighbor, Orrin, among others. As Abby’s father gains success, she enjoys more privileges, including a big new house in the city, but the family’s newfound prosperity doesn’t ease her outrage over her father’s mistreatment of the less fortunate, including Abby’s mentally impaired baby brother. Besides addressing the subject of bigotry, Martin underscores the powerlessness of wives and children at the time, revealing the positive and negative sides of tight family bonds. Abby grows into a resilient young woman (the novel spans more than 10 years), willing to speaks her mind and assert her independence. Martin incorporates universal themes into this period piece, and her poignant writing is sure to satisfy fans. Ages 8–12. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (May)
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