Thursday, November 5, 2009

Miss Harper Can Do It by Jane Berentson

Elementary school teacher Annie Harper's boyfriend David is deployed to Iraq in 2003, and she begins a journal for herself, envisioning a blockbuster memoir. Instead of a sappy romantic tell-all, however, she ends up using the journal to vent, fantasize, clear her head, and figure out what she wants from her relationship.  She alternates between missing David deeply and being angry with him for leaving; she has plenty of arguments (on paper) with George W. Bush as well. Static-y phone calls and occasional emails aren’t enough to keep her satisfied.To quell her loneliness, she adopts a pet chicken and volunteers at a nursing home, becoming friends with a woman whose husband may have been a World War II hero.Meanwhile, her best friend Gus becomes more and more attractive, and Annie has to determine whether or not this is a symptom of missing David.
Berentson peppers her realistic tale with funny situations and dialogue.  Although Annie is decidedly anti-war, readers of any political persuasion can sympathize with her complex emotions, and her story rings true.

copyright 2009 Library Journal/Rebecca Vnuk


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