Friday, November 30, 2007

[Book Review] WORLD OF PIES by Karen Stolz

Fiction/Coming of Age

Andrea Bledsoe reviews WORLD OF PIES by Karen Stolz (HyperionBooks, 2000)

In this first novel by Karen Stolz, we meet Roxanne. She is a 12 year-old tomboy growing up in the small town of Annette, Texas. The year is 1962, and Roxanne is about to experience a great many changes in her life--both historically and biologically.

Like in many other small towns across the country, people feel safe in keeping their doors unlocked and shopping at the local mom and pop storefronts. The families in Annette are close-knit, even though there seems to be a sense of restlessness among the older kids. They feel almost claustrophobic in their small town, and Roxanne is no exception.

Seeing world-changing events, such as JFK’s assassination and the Vietnam War, through a young woman’s eyes is very moving. Stolz also brings these tragedies closer to home with the family’s reactions. For instance, Roxanne’s mother, Christina, is having a wardrobe dilemma and states, “I bet Jackie Kennedy never had these problems...Her husband hasn’t even been dead a year and I am worried about that?” Another example of tragedy upsetting the family is when Roxanne’s cousin, Tommy, loses an arm while fighting in Vietnam.

I enjoyed this book because I had never read any of Karen Stolz’s books, and it is always fun to discover “new” authors. Also, as Roxanne states, “my family always took solace in eating,” so the author included all the recipes of the comfort food the family ate throughout the novel. The final reason I enjoyed this book was reading how a small town community comforts one another in the face of worldwide disaster as well as rejoices with one another in triumphs.

Andrea Bledsoe, Poplar-White Station Branch Library

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