- Fizzy Thoughts: Whistling in the Dark

Whistling in the Dark

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Whistling in the Dark
Lesley Kagen
May 2007
336 pages

Opening line:
“The after Mother told us she was sick, Troo and me were just laying in the lime summer grass, smelling the bleach comin’ off the wash that jitterbugged on the line and getting ready to play that name game with her.”

I adored this book. I absolutely loved the voice of Sally, the ten year old narrator. The book is set in Milwaukee in the summer of 1959. Kagen does a wonderful job of evoking the close-knit neighborhoods of the past.

With their mother in the hospital for the summer, their older sister preoccupied with her boyfriend, and their step-father off drinking and carousing, Sally and her younger sister Troo are left to their own devices. With a highly active imagination, Sally is convinced that the neighborhood predator that has murdered two young girls is now after her. She’s also convinced she knows who the guy is. Trouble is, no one believes her.

Following Sally and Troo around for the summer was a blast. The mystery is secondary to this story. The real story is Sally, as she searches for the truth and begins to leave her childhood behind.

13 comment(s):

Eva said...

What an adorable cover! When I was little, I had a crazy imagination too...I remember I had an almost constant 'narrative' running when I was by myself (like I'd be walking home from school, thinking "Little did she know that around that corner...", lol).

Beth F said...

I'm easy, the cover and the first line sold me! Glad to know the substance was good too. Thanks for the review.

cali said...

I've read good things about this book. Sounds great.

Ladytink_534 said...

I love books set in this time period. Glad you enjoyed it so much! I think I heard she has another book similar to this one? I'll have to add these to my list!

lisamm said...

Great review.. I really enjoy books like this. I love 10 year old narrators, too- so wise and innocent all at once. The cover is great but reminds me of another cover.. it's gonna drive me crazy trying to think where I've seen it before..

lisamm said...

Figured it out: it's this one. Not the same at all but Whistling in the Dark reminded me of it-


Jo-Jo said...

This sounds like a nice book. Makes me think of when I was little trying to solve mysteries with the neighbor girl.

Joanne said...

This sounds like a gooder. Love the cover too, reminds me of the dresses my mom used to try and make me wear (I was much more of an overalls kid though)

softdrink said...

Eva, you crack me up. I can just picture you...Eva Drew.

Beth - and bonus, the cover actually depicts the two girls correctly!

Cali - yup. ;-) Unfortunately, it wasn't my copy, so I can't pass it on.

Tink, I looked at her other book in the bookstore the other day, and it didn't strike me the same way. It's first person, like Whistling, but the narrator didn't grab me. I ended up not buying it.

Lisa - Lately, there have been lots of covers showing the backs of heads, though!

Jo-Jo - you sound like you could have been Eva's neighbor!

Joanne - personally, I preferred my Osh Kosh B'gosh overalls.

Wrighty - said...

This does sound good and I love the cover too. I haven't heard of it before but I've added it to my (long) list. Thanks for the review!

bermudaonion said...

I was going to say almost the exact same thing as Wrighty! Thanks for the review.

softdrink said...

Wrighty and Kathy - it's definitely worth adding to the list!

Dar said...

I've read a few reviews of this one and I'd like to read it-it's on the list.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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