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Squalor, New Mexico Paperback – June 11, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lisette Brodey was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. After high school, she moved to New York City where she attended Pace University and studied drama. After 10 years in New York, several of them working in the radio industry, she moved to Los Angeles, where she held various positions at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA. She returned to Philadelphia where she worked as a freelance writer, specializing in PR and the entertainment industry. Happily, she is now back in the Los Angeles area.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Saberlee Books (June 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098158361X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981583617
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,422,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful story about a girl growing up in a family that has a secret, and how this secret affects the lives of everyone in it. As this girl, Darla, moves into her teen years, she battles all the demons that go with it- bullies, hormones, boys, and her own curiosity and intellect. Having had two daughters (now in their 20's) go through this, I was amazed at how real and clear Ms. Brodey presented her young characters, right down to their thoughts and feelings while making choices, both good and bad. I also empathized very much with the fathers in the book, wanting so much to protect their children as they push the limits of family rules and moral behavior. It's a universal parental struggle to keep those boundaries set, and again, the author scores really high marks with this aspect of the story, as the parents deal with their own demons, both past and present. I thought this was going to be strictly a "chick" book, or one targeted for YA shelf, but I was totally wrong! While it certainly should be read by the "Agnes Thong" and "Traveling Pants" enthusiasts, this is one story that is far deeper and meaningful in examining ones values, and I highly recommend it for everyone! Lisette Brodey has that gift to be able to breathe life into her characters, and make you really care what happens to them. I'll be seeking out her other work, as well.
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Format: Paperback
After reading this fabulous book called " Squalor New Mexico," it made think so much about how many families do not understand the true meaning of trust and honesty. When people are afraid of secrets, they will tell lies to the end of time to keep them hidden.

The narrator of this book, Darla McKendrick, could never get a straight answer from her family about her mystery aunt who everyone was always whispering about. But Darla was smart and she had gifts kept her in search of the truth. She was born with a very inquisitive nature and she never stopped trying to get to the heart of the secret surrounding her Aunt Recbecca.

I really loved Darla's friendship with the elderly, Victoria, who Darla met in a nursing home. Victoria had nothing but love and wisdom flowing from her heart and was the one adult Darla could always trust to tell her the truth. The author not only captured the adult characters well, but showed the true essence of Darla's character-- from age nine through sixteen.

Squalor, New Mexico is a book about tragedy, dishonesty, lies and betrayal and growing up. While it is a Young Adult book, it is a great read for anyone of any age. This book will open up your eyes and show you life from the perspective of others and make you think.

I don't want to tell you too much about the book, but I can tell you that it was very powerful and made me reach down inside of my soul. The book has beautiful life lessons for children and adults alike.
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Format: Paperback
Know anyone living in squalor? At nine years old, was that word in your vocabulary? Ever wonder where Squalor might be? Let me tell you, Squalor is not in New Mexico, nor is the story set in the American southwest.

When I was very young and in school, (No, it was before high school, thank you)I was told we were to take an essay test. "Just write 'essay test' on the top of the page." I wrote "S.A.test" on top and as you can imagine, my teacher thought that was very funny. I was humiliated.

Similarly, imagine a 9-year-old girl, Darla, overhearing her mother and aunt discussing their mysterious, and seldom-mentioned Aunt Rebecca who lives in squalor. When cornered, Aunt Didi offers a flip answer. Squalor is, um, in New Mexico. Yeah, that's the ticket, New Mexico. That's very far away. Now go play little girl.

The above passage is not in quotation marks because it's my clumsy paraphrasing, but I hope you get the gist.

Lisette Brodey, in "Squalor, New Mexico," explores this misunderstanding and family mystery that through fear and embarrassment is allowed to fester. Told through the intelligent and perceptive eyes of Darla as she grows up, Brodey writes with amazing wit, clarity, and understanding.

I'm an action and adventure kind of guy, and young or old, male or female, I can't imagine a group this story won't appeal to.

Wright Gres, author of "Macedonia Passage: Dangerous Cargo"
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Lisette Brodey's earlier book CROOKED MOON and liked it. However, the author really outdid herself with SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO, a story which not only appeals to young adults but to all of us. It's first and foremost the coming of age story of young Darla McKendrick. However, the book asks some deeper questions: How do we deal with uncomfortable truths, lies, and secrets in a family or in society at large? Like most parents, the McKendricks try to "protect" their child from some of the unpleasant parts of their family history, only to make her more vulnerable to their damaging effect. Hiding "squalor" does not make it go away and both Darla and her parents and family have to learn this difficult lesson. The novel is both funny and entertaining, sad and tragic at times, and full of wisdom. Beautifully told. Highly recommended. I look forward to more of Lisette Brodey's writing.
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