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The box children
Sharon Wyse
Adult Fiction WYSE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Taking the form of the diary of a nave 11-year-old girl growing up in 1960s West Texas, this emotionally complex story entertains, frustrates and tugs at the heartstrings. Wyse's simply written tale is alive with the raw honesty and humorously candid observations of farm girl Lou Ann Campbell as she struggles to make sense of her family's ever-increasing dysfunction. Her neurotic mother, who has suffered through five miscarriages, is pregnant again but is still downing beer by the six-pack. Lou Ann's father is no better, carrying his sexual exploits from outside the home into his daughter's bedroom. As the emotional distance between Lou Ann and her older brother, Will, increases by the day, she finds herself with only five small dolls to talk to and the scattered pieces of paper that make up her secret diary to confide in. The dolls, which she keeps in a shoebox and takes out only when she is alone, represent her five unborn siblings, each with its own persona. As her story progresses, Lou Ann finds human friendship with a pen pal from Oklahoma City, one of the older boys hired to help with the wheat harvest and to her mother's grave disapproval the daughter of a Mexican prostitute. Wyse captures the voice of her young protagonist with remarkable skill and naturalness, from her innocent fantasies ("I wish we knew how to do acrobatics together or sing all in harmony so we could go on TV as a big famous family") to her bleakest moments ("My eyes are flat. All they are doing is looking out"). The novel's conclusion can only just be construed as hopeful, but Lou Ann's hardheaded (and hard-won) optimism rings true. Agent, Meredith Bernstein. (July 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Lou Ann Campbell
Age: 12
Terrorized by her cruel mother.

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