Tuesday, March 7, 2017

THE ANNIE YEAR :: Stephanie Wilbur Ash

The following review first appeared in Shelf Awareness and is posted here with permission. I had never heard of this title or the author when I spied the description on the Shelf list for the month. It sounded so bugnuts insane I knew I had to request it and am so thankful I had the opportunity to read and review it. A wonderful, fun read, this book also contains one of the best "jokes" I've read in some time (particularly since I have the mind of an 8-year-old). Full review below.

Stephanie Wilbur Ash is a hoot, and The Annie Year is the raucous debut novel from the former editor at Mpls.St.Paul magazine. Reading The Annie Year feels akin to pulling into a remote diner and having a lifelong local recount town history nonstop for hours, in intimate detail and regardless of subject matter sensitivity or personal embarrassment. The story is told so engagingly--caustic, awkwardly hilarious and full of the joy and anguish of everyday life--it's impossible to do anything but settle in, a willing hostage to the saga.

Tandy Caide is the CPA of a small Midwestern town. Married to a man she's rarely intimate with, charter member of the Order of the Pessimists and patron of the arts, Tandy feels stuck. Raised to take over her father's business, she never had an opportunity to spread her wings. After sharing a moment with the new vocational-agriculture  Are teacher at the high school production of Annie, Tandy's life takes a careening, two-wheels-off-the-pavement left turn.

With his ponytail, man-clogs, freshly-mown-ditch scent and multi-colored beaded belt, the Vo-Ag teacher lights a fire in Tandy that creates fallout across town. The havoc affects both a former lover and the daughter of her estranged best friend, forcing Tandy on a voyage to find her true self.

Through Tandy's first-person narrative, Ash has created a voice often cringe-worthy, full of introspection and admittedly fallible under the pressures of perfectionism. Readers will find Tandy's serpentine journey by turns familiar and foreign, but always entertaining.

STREET SENSE:  A smart novel with plenty of humor and life's insults, this is one to just pick up, hang on and enjoy the ride.

A FAVORITE PASSAGE:  [This quote comes from Tandy's first-person narrative while bowling with the Vo-Ag hunk. It's short, and really not one of the more meaningful passages, but I wanted to give you a flavor of Ash's sense of humor, which hit just the right smart/childish notes with me.]

I have never been more attracted to anyone in my entire life. It was like he bowled directly into my ovaries.

COVER NERD SAYS:  I didn't find this cover particularly engaging or symbolic of what is going on inside. I did find the font matched well, and it's not a font that would normally attract me. This isn't a bad cover, I'm just not sure it does justice to the insides, which are so alive that a cover more colorful and engaging (or outlandish) would have better served.

No comments:

About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP