Sunday, June 1, 2008
Review by Library Journal-Tomato Girl
Beth E. Andersen - Library Journal
The wonder of it all is that Ellie Sanders was able to maintain her charming, tenderhearted outlook for the first 11 years of her life. She and Rupert, her strong, protective father, have their hands full managing her mother Julia's wild bipolar mood swings. Then Rupert brings home Tess, the beautiful, epileptic 18 year old who provides tomato plants to Rupert's store. Pregnant Julia has fallen down the basement stairs, and Tess is there to care for the family. Then every kid's worst fear becomes Ellie's reality. She struggles mightily to manage the kind of cruel confusion caused by parents who force their children to cover for their mistakes. Rupert loses the battle of decency, succumbing to the unique idiocy of blinding infatuation, leaving Ellie alone with her mother while he flees the law with Tess. Only the loving kindness of an elderly black couple saves Ellie from the ensuing cascade of tragedies, a salvation complicated by the racial divide in Ellie's Southern community. Pupek's debut is a wrenching, stunning, and pitch-perfect novel that captures the best of Southern literature's finest storytelling colors. Highly recommended.
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