cover image Part of Me

Part of Me

Kimberly Willis Holt, . . Holt, $16.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6360-8

Holt's (My Louisiana Sky ) atmospheric novel traces five generations of a Louisiana family. Spanning the years 1939–2004, the book encapsulates the struggles, sorrows, infatuations and triumphs of various family members as they enter adolescence. Readers first meet 14-year-old Rose, who lies about her age to become the bookmobile driver for the new Terrebone Parish Library. Working hard to help her family make ends meet, she never realizes her dream of going to college but remains an avid reader and writer. She passes down her love of books to some but not all of her children and grandchildren. Rose's son Merle Henry would rather trap than read; her granddaughter, Annabeth, wishes she were more popular; and her great-grandson, Kyle, works at the library like his grandmother did, but doesn't have much use for books until he discovers Harry Potter. The author subtly weaves in historic influences such as the Dust Bowl, the Vietnam War and the Watergate hearings. Rose resurfaces briefly as a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and once again takes center stage in the final pages of the novel when, at age 79, she becomes a published author. Economical, evocative prose reflects the leisurely pace of Southern living and movingly conveys family tensions, family love, and the power of stories to bring generations together. Ages 10-15. (Sept.)