Raspberry House Blues

Raspberry House Blues

by Linda Holeman

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Overview

Poppy is on an odyssey. Her adoptive mother has taken off to find herself, so Poppy decides to live with her adoptive father, his new wife, Calypso, and their toddler, Sandeep, in a ramshackle rasp-berry-colored house. At first Poppy is distressed by the disordered household, which is unlike anything she has ever known, but soon it becomes a jumping-off point for her search for her birth mother.

Poppy discovers a great many things in the course of her search. She finds a kindred spirit in a strange, sickly woman named Becca, and an unexpected connection with the hippy, Calypso. But most of all, she finds a part of herself she didn’t even know was missing.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887764936
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: 09/01/2000
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.21(w) x 7.61(h) x 0.58(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Linda Holeman had always dreamed of becoming an author. Her first writing success came when she was in grade 5. A story she had written was aired on the CBC radio program “Story Broadcast Journal” and she still has a copy of the booklet it was published in.

Her career has included stints as a classroom and resource teacher and an adult workshop instructor. Her first published work as an adult was a collection of short stories called Saying Good-bye in 1995. She is the author of Frankie on the Run, a picture book and Flying to Yellow and The Devil’s Darning Needle, two collections of short stories for adults. Her fiction and non-fiction pieces have appeared in numerous anthologies.

Both Promise Song, her first young adult novel and Mercy’s Birds, her second, were selected for Books for the Teen Age lists by The New York Public Library. Her third YA novel, Raspberry House Blues, was published in Fall 2000 to excellent reviews. All three novels feature strong female teen protagonists and have been praised for the true representation of character, and especially, dialogue. Search of the Moon King’s Daughter is a new work of historical fiction, already being well received. Linda Holeman lives in Winnipeg.

Read an Excerpt

Raspberry House Blues

"Your dad has come a long way in improving his physical and mental state since I met him," Calypso said. She was stirring the pot of oatmeal again. The stove was splattered with dried bits and pieces of food. Some of it looked like it had been there for months. "He says he'll never be a complete vegan, like me, but he does pretty well."

"You're a vegan? You don't eat meat?"

"Right," she answered. "I believe in a compassionate way of living. I don't exploit animals for any purpose. No meat, chicken, fish, eggs, or dairy products. We have mixed views on how Sandeep should be fed. Your dad insists he have cow's milk, although I've assured him that rice or soy milk will do."

Sandeep slid down from his chair and ran to put his arms around Dad's knees. He buried his face there. "My Daddy," he said, lifting his face. "Not your dad. My Daddy."

Brat. "But I always have coffee in the morning," I said. "And sometimes a cappuccino after supper. We have a cappuccino-maker."

Dad just looked down and put his hand on Sandeep's curly hair. Sandeep was blond, like Dad. Calypso had very black hair in a thick braid that hung almost to her waist. She also had very black hair on her legs. She was wearing a grayish T-shirt thatlooked as if it had originally been white. It had a large pink stain shaped like the continent of Africa down the front. The cotton stretched grotesquely over her immense belly, and she was wearing green wrinkled shorts that were way too short for someone so pregnant, and with such embarrassingly hairy legs. Maybe she refused to shave them in empathy with all the exploited furry creatures.

"Don't drool on Daddy's pants, son," Dad said.

"You should say don't drool on my pants, Eric," Calypso said. "I keep telling you, you'll hold back his developing speech patterns by using that simplified language. You wouldn't talk like that to me. Or to Poppy." She looked over at me.

I was flipping through the newspaper, eating a piece of toast.

"Sandeep understands more than you realize," Calypso continued.

Sandeep pressed his mouth against Dad's off-white cotton pants again. I could see the beginnings of a spreading slimy patch, baby saliva mixed with oatmeal.

"Why don't you give him a few more months in a diaper? Obviously he's not interested in using the toilet." Dad gently disengaged Sandeep from his legs, picking him up. Sandeep settled against Dad's chest and put his thumb into his mouth.

Calypso put her finger to her lips and shook her head. "Please," she said, "no T word. See what that's made him do?"

I assumed she meant the thumb-sucking.

"No T word," Sandeep repeated, taking his thumb out of his mouth and looking at me, as if I'd said it. "No T word, Poopy."

I turned the page of the newspaper, concentrating on chewing my natural flax toast. It had all the flavor of wet cardboard.

"It's Poppy, Sandeep honey. Poppy, not Poopy," Calypso said, in a tired voice.

"Denise thought she looked like a Poppy," Dad said to Calypso. "As soon as she saw her, her little face all red, and her hair sticking up, just as red, she said, 'Look, she's like a little poppy.' I thought she looked like she'd stuck her finger in an electric socket."

"Thanks," I said.

"Just a joke," Dad said.

"Poopy," Sandeep said.

"He'll get used to your name, Poppy," Calypso said, "and to you. Just give him a little time." She came to the table and stood in front of me, her back to Dad and Sandeep. "He's used to being the only child," she whispered, "so he's a bit territorial about his father. He's already worried about his new brother or sister." She put her hands on her immense belly. "And then a half sister . . . well, it's a bit of an adjustment, you being here so suddenly and all. I'm sure you understand."

I didn't look up, showing great interest in an ad for small kitchen appliances. I wouldn't try to make her feel better by saying that I understood, or even by looking at her.

A bit of an adjustment for a two year old? My heart bleeds. What about me?


Continues...

Excerpted from Raspberry House Blues by Linda Holeman Copyright © 2000 by Linda Holeman. Excerpted by permission.
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