Through No Fault of My Own: A Girl's Diary of Life on Summit Avenue in the Jazz Age

Coco Irvine, Univ. of Minnesota, $12.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-0-8166-7306-3
Writer Peg Meier uncovered the diary of precocious and slightly naughty Clotilde "Coco" Irvine from the Minnesota Historical Society archives, and it appears here virtually unchanged. Coco, almost 13 when the diary begins, was the daughter of a wealthy lumber baron ("They were Minnesota's Vanderbilts, its Rockefellers," writes Meier in her introduction), living in a mansion in St. Paul, Minn. In 1927, Coco's biggest concerns included seeing whether "He" (a schoolmate) returns her affections, attending Friday night school dances, being fashionable, and entering adulthood as quickly as possible. An unrepentant attention-seeker, Coco gets into frequent trouble at home and at school ("I was merely bouncing a basketball against the wall. It wasn't my fault that it inadvertently hit the fire alarm and caused all the rumpus. Honestly, it could have happened to anyone"), but her exuberance, defiance, and sweetness will win over readers from her first entry. This effervescent journal demonstrates Irvine's early, intense enthusiasm for writing and independent thought, as well as her unmistakable talent. Photos of Coco and an afterword about her (fairly tragic) adult life round out an otherwise blithe glimpse into the past. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 98 pages - 978-1-4529-3134-0
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