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.
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.