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In Zanesville: A Novel

( 39 )

Overview

The fourteen-year-old narrator of IN ZANESVILLE is a late bloomer. She flies under the radar-a sidekick, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose Eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent. Luckily, she has a best friend with whom she shares the everyday adventures of a 1970s American girlhood, incidents through which a world is revealed, and character is forged.

In time, their friendship is tested—by their ...

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In Zanesville

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Overview

The fourteen-year-old narrator of IN ZANESVILLE is a late bloomer. She flies under the radar-a sidekick, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose Eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent. Luckily, she has a best friend with whom she shares the everyday adventures of a 1970s American girlhood, incidents through which a world is revealed, and character is forged.

In time, their friendship is tested—by their families' claims on them, by a clique of popular girls who stumble upon them, and by the first, startling, subversive intimations of womanhood.

With dry wit and piercing observation, Jo Ann Beard shows us that in the seemingly quiet streets of America's innumerable Zanesvilles is a world of wonders, and that within the souls of the overlooked often burns something radiant.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Masterfully wrought...downright hilarious and often hold-your-breath-and-hope-for-the-best suspenseful. The restraint with which Beard deploys moments of tension and humor make each page glimmer."—Samuel Reaves Slaton, O Magazine

"A fierce, funny, brave, and bracingly honest new novel....Every bit as poignant and powerful as The Catcher in the Rye."—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

"An exuberant first novel....Beard has a knack for melding the funny and the sad, amplifying small moments into something big."—Susannah Meadows, New York Times

"Epic and profound. These thoughtful, funny, awestruck, slightly peculiar girls are so endearing, so painfully true."—Karen Valby, Entertainment Weekly

"A sure-handed first novel ....It's impossible not to be charmed."—Yvonne Zipp, Washington Post

"A fresh comic voice and a talent for sharp familiarizing place-details."—Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

<b>Julia Keller</b> - Chicago Tribune
"A fierce, funny, brave, and bracingly honest new novel....Every bit as poignant and powerful as The Catcher in the Rye."
Susannah Meadows - New York Times
"An exuberant first novel....Beard has a knack for melding the funny and the sad, amplifying small moments into something big."
Samuel Reaves Slaton - O Magazine
"Masterfully wrought...downright hilarious and often hold-your-breath-and-hope-for-the-best suspenseful. The restraint with which Beard deploys moments of tension and humor make each page glimmer."
Karen Valby - Entertainment Weekly
"Epic and profound. These thoughtful, funny, awestruck, slightly peculiar girls are so endearing, so painfully true."
Yvonne Zipp - Washington Post
"A sure-handed first novel ....It's impossible not to be charmed."
Sam Sacks - Wall Street Journal
"A fresh comic voice and a talent for sharp familiarizing place-details."
Julia Keller
A fierce, funny, brave, and bracingly honest new novel....Every bit as poignant and powerful as The Catcher in the Rye.
Chicago Tribune
Karen Valby
Epic and profound. These thoughtful, funny, awestruck, slightly peculiar girls are so endearing, so painfully true.
Entertainment Weekly
Samuel Reaves Slaton
Masterfully wrought...downright hilarious and often hold-your-breath-and-hope-for-the-best suspenseful. The restraint with which Beard deploys moments of tension and humor make each page glimmer.
O Magazine
Yvonne Zipp
A sure-handed first novel ....It's impossible not to be charmed.
Washington Post
Susannah Meadows
An exuberant first novel....Beard has a knack for melding the funny and the sad, amplifying small moments into something big.
New York Times
Sam Sacks
A fresh comic voice and a talent for sharp familiarizing place-details.
Wall Street Journal
Ann Patchett - author of Run
"Jo Ann Beard has written a mesmerizing account of a time in a girl's life when every moment, every action, is laden with enormous importance. It is so beautifully written, so perfect in its pitch, that I couldn't put it down."
Howard Norman - author of What Is Left the Daughter
"Beard is a writer of immense talents. In Zanesville is far more than a coming-of-age novel. Our offbeat narrator is spellbinding in her bold vivacity and honesty, an unforgettable character quickly embraced and beloved at the center of our lives."
James Hynes - author of Next
"Beard has a sharp eye, a wry wit, and a warm heart, and in her new book, she has captured perfectly not only a particular era in American life, but an evanescent moment in one beautifully evoked life. I loved this book."
Peter Rock - author of My Abandonment
"In Zanesville is told by a narrator attuned to the humor and tragedy around her, battling it with her own desperate logics. This novel is an amazing demonstration of friendship, the most necessary and slippery thing we can possess."
Courtney Jones - Booklist
"Moving.... Beard travels the well-worn road of budding young womanhood with surprising freshness."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316125277
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 492,208
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jo Ann Beard is the author of a collection of autobiographical essays, The Boys of My Youth. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Essays, and other magazines and anthologies. She received a Whiting Foundation Award and nonfiction fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

    A Joy to Read

    In Zanesville is utterly charming and delightful, as was Ms. Beard's first book, Boys of My Youth. I keep calling it Boys of Our Youth, because that's what it felt like. In both books, I had the uncanny feeling the author must have grown up in my town, gone to my school, and been in my family. The writing is lovely and pitch perfect, and there are several scenes I'll never forget. I'm not even a fan of coming-of-age novels, but I absolutely loved these books and have recommended them to numerous friends, all who felt the same way.

    In Zanesville is a rare treat.

    Anne McGrath

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A witty tale of an average American teenager in a dysfunctional family.

    If you were a teen in the 1970's you can definitely relate to INZANESVILLE. The main character a 14 year old teenager girl is also the narrator and remains annonymous throughout the book. Despite her dysfunctional family which includes her chain smoking mother and her non-working alcoholic father, the narator seeems to emotionally lead a rather normal teenage life. Follow her and laugh as I did as she leads you through her life at home, through school, as she hangs out with her best friend Felicia and a few others, all with silly nicknames. Reminise in her feelings as she begins to notice boys and experience those first tingling sensations all over again. I love the character of the narrator simply for the reason that she is just like the average teenager, not overly attractive yet not plain, but just in between. She struggles with the friendship of her best friend Flea while also trying to fit into a group of teens that have found her interesting either because her differences seem to intrigue them or they are bored of themselves. I found a lot of familiarity including the fiasco when the narrator purposely acquires detention in order to introduce herself to a said boy, who she later awkwardly dumps when he gets a little frisky. Beard really makes these characters come to life on her pages and you can relate to these teenage antics whatever your age. The close teenage friendship, the feelings of abandonment by her friend, her relationship with her siblings and even her parents can be anyones real life. I feel Beards intention with this story is to pull the reader back to that particular time in their life, those teenage years, to make that connection. The true realization I recognized INZANESVILLE to hold is that real true friendships are more important than school cliques or boys.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    Fairly quick, easy read. You follow the (somewhat) nameless narr

    Fairly quick, easy read. You follow the (somewhat) nameless narrator through the summer and fall of what is presumably her sophomore year of high school as there is little to no reference of the just-starting-high-school angst. The characters are believable in their personalities with the over-enthusiastic art teacher, the overwhelmed mother, the pesky but lovable little brother. What I didn't care for was how the author started certain story lines and then left them as cliff hangers throughout the book. Overall, it was a likeable read but nothing outstanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Delightful story

    Teenage girl thinks she's a misfit, when actually she's pretty normal. Well written, funny and a delight to read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Awesome!

    Wow. In Zanesville is a coming of age story narrated by a nameless but deeply authentic feeling 14-year-old every-girl in a small every-small town. It is set in the 70s, but except for the competition for the family phone, it could be any time, too. The novel is concerned with that time when nothing much is happening, and yet, everything is happening, and everything feels freighted with portent and meaning. Babysitting jobs, slumber parties, walks into town with a best friend stand side by side with a sudden and new uncertainty about that best friend, anxiety about all too human and fallible parents, and wonder about boys. It is all sharply observed and tenderly captured. There is not a word out of place. The last two, in particular, are perfect.

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  • Posted August 2, 2012

    Ms. Beard writes in such an authentic voice. I loved the book.

    Ms. Beard writes in such an authentic voice. I loved the book. I read it when it first came out and I still think about some of the scenes. I look forward to reading whatever she writes next.

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  • Posted May 22, 2012

    While the narrative was well done, I kept finding myself waiting

    While the narrative was well done, I kept finding myself waiting for something to happen. Nothing ever did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    I would not recommend this book

    I grew up in the 70's and this book was boring to me! Sure it would be to others also

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Nicely written

    Wish it went on longer, but well written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 20, 2011

    In Zanesville: Beautiful Teenage Ennui

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews

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