This is an absolute gem of a book. Written about a young woman's experience from the perspective of a grown woman looking down the long pipe of experience, it rings true on every page.
Reading this beautifully told story was like stepping into, and becoming a part of the story itself, to become an additional character, or wish you were. That is how real these characters became and how much you came to care about them. Told in a gently meandering stlye, full of the rich details of nature and emotion, each sentence a song unto itself. Theresa, the only child of older parents, smart, exceptionally pretty, living on Long Island and attending a private girl's school, spends her summers caring for neighbor's pets and children. Alone much ! of the time, though not lonely, she is not a part of any social group and doesn't appear to have any girlfriends.
The story takes place in the summer of her 15th year. Her young cousin Daisy, eight years old and a favorite of hers, comes to spend
a few weeks away from her large (eight children) family. Theresa has a genuine way with children and pets, gentle, respectful, patient, appreciative,wise, weaving magical, enchanting stories and making creative, intuitive games out of simple activities. They adore her, as you come to in the course of the story. She truly cares for them, in a way the other adults in the story can't seem to bring themselves to. In fact they fall shamefully short of not only understanding, but into the catagory of negelect. This summer is a turning point in Theresa's life, and although it includes a brief, strange entanglement with an artist, father of one of her charges, it is her relationship to Daisy, "poor Daisy" that closes the door on her own idealic childhood. The author, Alice McDermott is a master of both word and mood. I was moved by this book in a way I can't quite grasp or describe, except to say that as I read it, I lived it. That I can enter the story through the skill of and author is without a doubt, remarkable! Read this book