Tomorrow River

Tomorrow River

4.2 32
by Lesley Kagen
     
 

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"During the Summer of 1968, Shenandoah Carmody's mother disappeared. Her twin sister, Woody, stopped speaking, and her once-loving father slipped into a mean drunkenness unbefitting a superior court judge. Since then, Shenny - named for the Shenandoah Valley - has struggled to hold her world together, taking care of herself and her sister the best she can. Shenny

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Overview

"During the Summer of 1968, Shenandoah Carmody's mother disappeared. Her twin sister, Woody, stopped speaking, and her once-loving father slipped into a mean drunkenness unbefitting a superior court judge. Since then, Shenny - named for the Shenandoah Valley - has struggled to hold her world together, taking care of herself and her sister the best she can. Shenny feels certain that Woody knows something about the night their mother vanished, but her attempts to communicate with her mute twin leave her as confused as their father's efforts to confine the girls to the family's renowned Virginia estate." As the first anniversary of their mother's disappearance nears, her father's threat to send Woody away and his hints at an impending remarriage spur a desperate Shenny to find her mother before it's too late. She is ultimately swept up in a series of heartbreaking events that force her to come to terms with the painful truth about herself and her family.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set during the summer of '69 in rural Virginia, Kagen's stellar third novel, her first in hardcover, chronicles the dramatic changes in the lives of 11-year-old Shenny Carmody and her twin sister, Woody, nearly a year after their mother's disappearance. Woody hasn't spoken since, and their father, a renowned judge, spends most of his nights in a drunken stupor at Lilyfield, their Rockbridge County estate, often turning violent and cruel toward his two daughters. Shenny, adventurous and bright, takes it upon herself to locate their beloved Mama and discover why she left them. In her quest for the truth, Shenny learns many heart-wrenching lessons, not least among them that first impressions “can be dead wrong.” Kagen (Whistling in the Dark) not only delivers a spellbinding story but also takes a deep look into the mores, values, and shams of a small Southern community in an era of change. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
In Kagen's hardcover debut (Land of a Hundred Wonders, 2008), a young Virginia girl puzzles over her mother's disappearance. It is 1969, shortly before the moon landing and one year since Shenny's mother Evie, an educated, liberal Yankee whom Shenny's father married against his family's wishes, disappeared. Shenny's twin sister Woody-the girls are 11 when the story opens-has stopped speaking and their father Walter, a respected judge from the influential Carmody family, has become a raving drunk who locks the girls in the root cellar overnight when they disobey his orders to stay home in order to avoid communication with anyone outside the family. Tomboy Shenny and increasingly fragile Woody disobey frequently, visiting the friends Evie cultivated behind her husband's back as their marriage soured. The girls are especially fond of Beezy, an elderly black woman who was once a Carmody servant, and her handsome, blue-eyed son Sam, who used to be a police detective in Illinois before he came home to run a gas station. Since no body or clues have been found, the local sheriff investigating Evie's disappearance seems to have hit a dead end. Shenny starts her own investigation with no better luck. Her acuity is questionable. Although she claims to be surprised by her father's transformation from loving to abusive father, she was aware of the troubles in her parents' marriage which involved Walter's attempts to bully Evie the same way his father and brother bully all the women in their lives. The Carmody men are cartoonishly evil-rich, misogynistic, predatory and racist-while Shenny's Carmody grandmother is a Catholic religious fanatic. Although Kagen makes references to cultural touchstoneslike Vietnam and the moon landing, her version of 1969 Virginia veers from anachronistically innocent to anachronistically backward. And Shenny's determined pluck seems both too innocently young and too precocious to coalesce into a believable 12-year-old. Shenny starts her narration by warning that first impressions "can be dead wrong," but there's never a question as to who's good or bad in her story.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525951544
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
04/29/2010
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
9.32(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.19(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

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