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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
It's amazing that any of us arrives at adulthood in a relatively healthy mental state. School bullies, turncoat friends, and troubled teachers -- not to mention confused parents struggling with their own problems -- should surely take their toll on a child's fragile ego. In her amusing yet heartbreaking debut, Emily Jenkins takes us on a tour of the crazy, threatening world of adolescence, seen through the eyes of eight-year-old Vanessa Brick.
The year is 1970, and Vanessa lives with her mother, a well-meaning if not always wise single mom, and attends a progressive private school. But her school isn't exactly a safe haven: Teachers assemble their charges into a Circle of Sharing, urging them to talk about their feelings. And in one of the novel's early scenes, a classmate shoves Vanessa against a wall and moons her, foreshadowing a series of more sinister episodes. Sadly, Vanessa has few places to turn for help. Her mother is wrapped up in a search for a boyfriend, her teachers make her feel uncomfortable, and her friends are having their own growing pains. Ultimately, Vanessa begins acting out in a surprising way -- and for a while, no one can figure out what's provoking her behavior.
It's not giving too much away to say that Vanessa ultimately makes it through this strange and scary year. But what readers will remember most about Mister Posterior is the charming little girl Emily Jenkins has created. Vanessa's youthful ability to just plain cope makes this tale a delightful testament to the resilience of the human spirit. (Winter 2002 Selection)