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CAN ONE UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP SAVE A LIFE?
Billie Standish has pretty much no one. Her parents are too caught up in their own lives, and the only two girls in town her age want nothing to do with her. When it looks like a nearby levee might break, and Billie's elderly neighbor, Miss Lydia, is the only other person besides her family to stick around, a friendship is born out of circumstance. What happens during that time, in that empty town, is a tragedy that Billie can't bear ...
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CAN ONE UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP SAVE A LIFE?
Billie Standish has pretty much no one. Her parents are too caught up in their own lives, and the only two girls in town her age want nothing to do with her. When it looks like a nearby levee might break, and Billie's elderly neighbor, Miss Lydia, is the only other person besides her family to stick around, a friendship is born out of circumstance. What happens during that time, in that empty town, is a tragedy that Billie can't bear alone. Can the love of one woman nearing the end of her life save the life of a young woman just at the beginning of living hers?
Gr 9 Up
Eleven-year-old Billie is neglected and emotionally abused. Her parents, who were disappointed that she was not a boy, work all day in the fields, leaving her to keep house, cook, and attend school. When a flood threatens their 1968 Missouri community, most residents flee, leaving Billie's family, an elderly neighbor, and the woman's adult son. Billie and Miss Lydia become friends, but the girl is leery of Curtis. Her fear is well grounded, as he lures her to the deserted school and rapes her. Billie tells no one, but Miss Lydia figures it out. The woman, who was sexually abused by her father, protects Billie by staging a shooting in which she mistakes Curtis for a burglar and kills him. When the flood passes and school resumes, Billie becomes friends with a boy who becomes part of the afternoons at Miss Lydia's. Harlan and Billie grow closer as time passes. Miss Lydia ultimately suffers a stroke, and the two teens take care of her until her death. This story is beautiful, painful, and complex, and the descriptions of people, events, and emotions are graphic and tangible. The rape scene is described but not sensationalized. The pain it causes both Billie and Miss Lydia is made real for readers. The language is a bit crude at the beginning, but as Billie's rough edges are smoothed, her language becomes more polished. The ending is somewhat over-the-top, but doesn't detract from the story.
—Nancy P. ReederCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Posted October 26, 2008
This novel set in Missouri in the 1960's transports the reader to another time and place, where the problems faced by Billie Standish are just as real as those faced by teens today. <BR/><BR/>Billie's parents wanted a boy, hence the first name of William, and spend the majority of their time ignoring her. When the river starts to rise and threatens to flood, Billie's family is one of the few to stay. She forms an unlikely friendship with an elderly woman, Miss Lydia, who begins to show her that there is more to life than her parent's disappointment and that she is capable of far more than she thought. <BR/><BR/>When a horrible tragedy befalls Billie, Miss Lydia is the only one who can help. <BR/><BR/>Crocker tells the gentle story of Billie Standish with grace and sensitivity, contrasting the innocence of a time when space travel was astonishing with the dark actions humans are always capable of. The novel follows Billie's life as she grows from the age of eleven to graduating from high school, and as her friendship with Miss Lydia and the secret they share shapes and transforms her life. <BR/><BR/>**Disclaimer: This novel contains sensitive subject matter that is geared towards older, mature teens.
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Posted March 3, 2009
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