While this is yet another book I should have read long before now, and if I ever have a daughter her reading list is growing by the second, I am also glad I found Francie now for the end of her story. As a kid I would not have appreciated the ending of Francie's narrative. I would have been looking for her happy ending, the comforting ending that would assure me that all would be well for me some day. We aren't so sure of that as Francie's story draws to a close. She is finally heading off to college (go UM!) but she's lost who she thought was the love of her life. She's gained a man as a dad who could take care of her mother and baby sister but still grieved for her handsome papa who slowly drank himself to death. She was smart but scared, determined but still longing for something she could never have. She was every twenty-something in the middle of their quarter life crisis even if she is only seventeen as the book ends. I was glad to find Francie now because her struggles remind me of myself as I still fight to adjust to this adult life I have now. Francie's nostalgia for her childhood, for the days when she knew what to expect and what was expected of her hit a chord with me. I often do that still, wishing against hope that I could go back to those comfortable, carefree summer days in the woods they cut down.
|From The Heroine's Bookshelf|
So to recap, a coming of age story with a brilliant female protagonist surrounded by inspiring, if somewhat unorthodox, women who uses her brains to raise above her upbringing to head west to go to university and the sky is the limit...talk about a book made for me. Seriously though, this is a book a person can read at different times in their life and always find the advice they are looking for, always with the idea that the tree growing against all odds, even when it's burned down, will always find a way to start over again.