TITLE & AUTHOR: Mailbox by Nancy Freund
PUBLISHER: Gobreau Press LLC
RELEASE DATE: 1 May 2015
I got this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
In 76 funny and poignant linked vignettes, 13-year-old agnostic protagonist Sandy Drue launches a personal quest. Her family has moved from New York City to Small Town USA — not an easy move, especially for Sandy’s artist/intellectual mother who watches Sandy and her brother adapt to their new community and feels more and more like she’s hosting foreign exchange students who never leave. Sandy loves this idea, both hosting foreign students and travelling the world. At 13, she is in-between — between her mother’s mindset and her own, between childhood and adulthood, between geographical and cultural divisions, and in the 1970s, between political conflicts in American history and a changing economy. She is searching for the Meaning of Life, and she thinks she finds it. She is finally ready to write her book. The result is a compulsively readable tale of the mysteries and mischief, struggles and victories of growing up — a fantastic piece of contemporary fiction as true to life as a careful documentary.
I’d never have been in the dark-dungeon tree house behind the church if the public school teachers hadn’t gone on strike. Not that I’m blaming those teachers or those kids in there or the kids who left or anyone else. No one else was to blame. When you get right down to it, people make their own choices about whether to go into a terrible place or not, and that includes me.
WHAT I THOUGHT
Mailbox is the strangest novel I’ve ever read- in a good way. I absolutely loved the structure though it took some getting used to. The novel is divided into dozens of little vignettes that have stories and adventures about a young girl growing up in 1970’s America. Mailbox reads like a collection of short stories or fragments that are linked together and not always in obvious ways. Imagine someone had written a journal every day for years and one day suddenly tore out all the pages and scattered them. This is what Mailshot is. I’ve read a lot of novels set in the present or future recently so I really enjoyed taking a trip to the 70’s (when I wasn’t even born). I thought Sandy was a great character. I loved her point of view. I found myself having a few nostalgic moments and wondering was I like that when I was 13? I hope so. Sandy’s voice is perfect to narrate the novel and so much of her anecdotes, asides and observations rung true.