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Comfort Creek Paperback – January 12, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Quinn's life could be a bad country music song-Mama left town, Daddy lost his job, they're living in a swamp, and if it weren't for bad luck they'd have no luck at all. This story of family crisis in a dying Florida mining town suffers from two problems: it's an adult-driven plot in which the main character, 11-year-old Quinn, is a reactor rather than protagonist, and the book has a 1950s sensibility despite its contemporary setting. In the opening chapter, Quinn and her sister Rhonda Fay ride on the front porch of their house as it is moved out of town on a flatbed to the backwoods. When Pa-Daddy loses his job in the mines and the family is plunged into abject poverty, deprived of electricity and plumbing, the clan bemoans their bad fortune but nobody thinks of tracking down Quinn's deadbeat country-music singer mom. Amid the turmoil, Quinn's grandmother Nanny Jo talks soothingly of an imaginary place, Comfort Creek, where everything is calm, but Quinn cannot begin to imagine it amid the chaos of her own life. By the time a solution comes along, readers may find their patience with the travails of Nanny Jo, Pa-Daddy, Rhonda Fay and Quinn has worn as thin as the family heirloom quilt. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7-Quinnella Ellerbee and her two sisters are unhappy about the changes in their family since their mother ran off to play with a bluegrass band. Times are hard in the company town of Panther Ridge, FL, especially since the mines have begun to close. The Ellerbees have had to move their tract home out to the swamps onto family land, making do without water or electricity. Quinn has had to change schools and give up her dream of becoming editor of the sixth-grade newspaper. Worse, their beloved Pa-Daddy is depressed and angry, unwilling to discuss his wife's departure or take up his mother's offer to help manage their fruit groves. But Quinn is smart and feisty, navigating the family difficulties with spirit and hope. When a development company comes on the scene and allegiances are threatened, she must find a way to reconcile her love for her father with her conscience-and to stand up for herself. The rural setting is well described, as is the economic and ecological impact of the mines. Quinn is likable and believable, and the family dynamics and secondary characters all ring true. While not fast paced, this is nevertheless a well-written, evocative, and insightful story with an emotionally satisfying conclusion.
Cyrisse Jaffee, formerly at Newton Public Schools, MA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (January 12, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044041198X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440411987
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,362,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joyce McDonald is the author of several critically acclaimed middle grade and young adult novels, most notably Swallowing Stones, an American Library Association Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults and Booklist's 100 Best of the Best 1966 - 2003, and Shades of Simon Gray, an ALA Best Book and Edgar Allen Poe Award Nominee. She is also the author of The Stuff of Our Forebears: Willa Cather's Southern Heritage (University of Alabama Press). Her most recent novel is Devil on My Heels. She teaches in Spalding University's Brief-residency MFA in Writing Program.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Library Binding
Joyce McDonald addresses lots of tough, realistic, grown-up issues in this book. It's the sad flip-side of the American dream most people would rather ignore. The numerous problems of the Ellerbees would be almost impossible to accept, except that the story is grounded in the first-person main character. Somehow Quinn keeps her head and allows us to see the situation with some humor and hope.
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Format: Paperback
Comfort Creek was a great book, teaching you how hard life can get. As a young teen, I couldn't stop reading this book. I felt something always kept me interested in the plot. It is sad in certain parts, but uplifting and curiously funny.
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