A coming-of-age novel about Joan Lilley, a descendant of Scandinavian pioneers, Snusville takes place during the 1940s and �50s. Joan is something of a minor rebel from the complex standards of her family and friends, all �good� people hounded and rigidly bound by their need to exemplify right behavior. Though this novel is of a particular historical period and ethnic group, Joan�s questioning will seem familiar to anyone with a need to identify with one�s family while seeking acceptance within and without the group as well as spiritual growth.
Joan�s story begins in a section of Des Moines, Iowa, familiarly called Snusville. Joan�s mother, Alma, has an unrelenting morality based on her strict upbringing, which is short on emotional expression. After a tragic accident concerning her father, life has become harder for Joan and her mother and they must take in a roomer, librarian Willa Stromberg, who becomes a mentor to Joan.
Much of this history is concerned with Joan�s relationships with her friends and particularly with men. The real drama concerns Rod Allison, a Catholic boy. They begin to see one another despite family disapproval, which is important for Joan's peace of mind. She must decide about the relationship and how it affects her own happiness and place in the family.
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Beautifully written coming of age story. From the begining, I needed to know where Joan's path would lead. In the last chapter, Joan's conversation with Geraldine at the farm and Joan's reflection on the ride home is especially moving . A perspective I hadn't thought about (regarding staunch parenting). This story, of having the courage to march to your own drummer is perfect for teens.