The Sandy Bottom Orchestraby Garrison Keillor
Rachel thinks her parents' weirdness is rubbing off on her and she is becoming the town nerd. The only time Rachel feels normal is with the Dairyland Symphony Orchestra -- but is that enough to sustain her through the long, lonely summer?
In this team's first novel for young readers, chapters open and close in Rachel's life as she finishes eighth grade: Scott, met in music class, makes friendly overtures; her best friend, Carol, drifts away; the option of leaving town for an arts- oriented boarding school in the autumn comes up in family discussions, and she is invited to play violin in a summer orchestrafor money! The approach of Dairy Days, the town's Fourth of July celebration, brings successive crises, and Rachel ultimately finds herself part of an orchestra for which her fiery, chain-smoking mother is the pianist and her gentle father, the conductoreven though his previous experience with the baton has been entirely in front of the CD player. Rachel displays a winning mixture of courage and confusion as she makes her way through a first date, encounters with adults of various temperaments, and rehearsals with often-frisky fellow musicians. Nicely timed observations and frequent flights of fancy keep the tone wry and low-key, but there is nothing restrained about the closing's fireworks, blasting cannon, and soaring 1812 Overture. The parts may be more memorable than the sum, and adult characters more sharply drawn than the young ones, but Rachel's uncertainties and anxieties are explored with a sure touch, and the setting is totally convincing.
Meet the Author
Garrison Keillor is the host of Public Radio International's A Prairie Home Companion and the author of many novels. He coauthored The Sandy Bottom Orchestra, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, with his wife Jenny Lind Nilsson, and wrote two picture books for younger readers. His adult titles include Lake Wobegon Days, Leaving Home, and The Book of Guys. He lives in Minnesota with his family.
- St. Paul, Minnesota
- Date of Birth:
- August 7, 1942
- Place of Birth:
- Anoka, Minnesota
- B.A., University of Minnesota, 1966
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Rachel Green can relate to almost every child on this planet: her parents seem strange and are embarrasing,(aren't they all though!) she feels as if she is an outsider, but she has her own talent. In this case, it's music. Garrison Keiler amuses us with a book filled with humor and hope!! Recommended!
This book is a great read and I could really relate to the characters. I play the violin too, and it was nice to see a book that could capture everything about the music.