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Posted July 10, 2010
NISSA'S PLACE picks up roughly a year after its predecessor, THE YEAR OF THE SAWDUST MAN.
Main character Nissa Bergen is about to be thirteen years old and her life is bursting with change. She is still trying to adjust to the presence of her stepmother and the unknown whereabouts of her mother. Nissa and her best friend are also struck both physically and emotionally by the craziness of puberty. And those are not the only matters transforming Nissa's life.
One day, her mother returns to town, and Heirah Rae convinces her daughter to travel back with her to Chicago. Both are happy to be together once again, but Nissa wonders about her home and loved ones waiting back for her in Harper, Louisiana.
Does she belong in the noisy city or the small town? What exactly is God's plan for her, and what factors will challenge it?
By the time readers of all ages get to the end of the novel, they will be inspired by Nissa's determination to make a difference and the path she takes to find her inner self. This book touches on so many issues, from racial segregation of the 1930s to the relationships between family members affected by divorces and second marriages.
Readers are bound to find some detail or character that touches them in a personal way, making their reading experience quite awakening and unique.
Posted June 10, 2010
Ever since her mama left home two years before, Nyssa's been adjusting to new situations. Not being with her mama all the time, getting to know her papa's new wife, ignoring the comments of gossipy people in her small Louisiana town. She's no longer sure how she fits into it all.
When her mama swoops in to take her off to live for a while in Chicago, Nissa experiences the joys and pitfalls of city life for the first time. She sees more clearly the deprivations brought on by the Depression, and she understands that she'll probably never live in the same city with both her parents again.
Nissa is torn between what she truly wants for herself. Then, while visiting a library in Chicago, she finds inspiration for creating something new that will help her finally figure out where she wants to call home.
Nissa's Place by A. LaFaye is richly evocative of the time it's set in. It's a time when women didn't wear pants or speak up too much, blacks and whites had separate schools, restaurants and water fountains, and divorce was rare. Country life and city life were worlds apart.
Nissa's papa is wise and patient, her mama impulsive and creative. From both of them she learns how to find the talents inside herself that will help her be at peace with whatever path she takes. She knows she is deeply loved by them both. Mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 9 to 16 should find lots to talk about after reading Nissa's Place is set in. Issues to discuss include women's roles in the 1930s, segregation, doing what you think is right even if it may be unpopular, putting yourself at personal risk to do what's right, finding your personal strengths, divorced parents, and more. I highly recommend it.
Posted June 23, 2011
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