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Runaround Hardcover – March 1, 2007
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
More About the Author
Helen is a graduate of the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College. Visit her on the web at www.helenhemphill.com.
Top Customer Reviews
"I just want to know about boys! I don't have a mama to talk to! How else am I going to find out things if nobody tells me?"
Sassy wants to know what love truly is, but who can she talk to about boys? Her mama passed away when she was just a baby, and she hasn't any close friends. The two adults in her life are her daddy, who is hard-working but sometimes gruff, and Miss Dallas, who looks after the girls while their father is working. She sets her eye on Boon, a boy closer to her sister's age, determined to make him her boyfriend. After all, he did smile and tell her:
"You got a good heart, Sassy girl."
Due out in March and geared towards ages 8 and up, RUNAROUND by Helen Hemphill will draw readers in from page one. I could see Sassy running around that little town of hers as clear as day. She reminded me a great deal of Addie, the leading little lady from the novel Addie Pray, better known as the film Paper Moon. Sassy's spunk may get her in trouble with Daddy, but it also will win the hearts of readers. What an absolutely adorable story!
Sassy reads 'Love Confessions' magazine. Her father is reserved and never talks about their mother so she questions Miss Dallas about romance and her parents' relationship. "You're in love with love," Miss Dallas tells her,and indeed, that is the heart of this jewel of a story.
Snips of advice and passages from Sassy's magazines begin many of the chapters. When Sassy encounters handsome Boon Chisholm at the grocery store she develops a head over heels crush on him even though he is much older than her and is from the wrong side of the social tracks.
There are some wonderfully funny and painful moments as Sassy and Lula learn about guys and life. You do not want to get into a haircut fight with these sisters.
Hemphill evokes the time, 1964, and place, Falls of Rough, Kentucky, beautifully. Cherry Cokes-to-go are served in paper cups, screen doors slam and Elvis sings on the record player. The details are part of the story and never forced. The cover art is an old Benday dot style, romance comic illustration.
Sassy and Lula, their father, Miss Dallas and even the feckless Boon are characters the reader cares about. In their own way all the players in this story are sorting out their lives and hoping for relationships that give meaning to life. (It is nice to see a story with a loving father too.)
I think middle schoolers will find much that resonates in this sweet sweet story.
Runaround by Helen Hemphill is a small book that crams in many storylines--in a good way. Set in a tobacco-growing area sometime around the first Surgeon General's warning against smoking and the beginning of food stamps for the needy, Runaround touches on the plight of farmers of the era and the needy of all time. It harkens back to the days of lazy summers and having a country store down the road kids could walk to and buy groceries on credit.
Sassy and Lula are motherless, and they are cared for by Miss Dallas, a woman who has never had children and who is reluctant to answer Sassy's questions about love and romance. So Sassy gleans most of her ideas of romance from reading True Confessions magazine, something her Daddy doesn't approve of. Each chapter of Runaround opens with a quote from what appears to be True Confessions articles, and it's easy to see how Sassy could get mixed up about love and romance if that's what she thinks of as the norm.
If I have any reservations about Runaround, it's that it brings up many issues that it doesn't address in-depth enough. There are issues of class, sisters hurting and supporting each other, family secrets, and difficulties with family communication. And I thought Sassy's tantrums were more appropriate for a toddler than an 11-year-old who should be able to control her anger and actions a bit more than she does. But those issues should give mother-daughter book clubs a lot to talk about. I recommend Runaround for book clubs with girls aged ten to thirteen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Helen Hemphill's RUNAROUND is the story of a girl trying to find her way to the world of adulthood. She doesn't have much help: her father is apparently grieving the death of his... Read morePublished on November 15, 2007 by Tracy Barrett
Not since Carson McCullers MEMBER OF THE WEDDING, have I read a book that so accurately portrays that foggy zone between childhood and adolescence as well as Helen Hemphill's... Read morePublished on September 6, 2007 by Nancy Drew