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This is the journal of Venola Mae Cutright,"" begun the week after her much-feared Granddad has died, and maintained during her seventh-grade year while she adjusts to sleeping overnight, every night, in her lonely grandmother's trailer home (a ""brand-new, two-bedroom one, with avocado green carpet, curtains, and appliances"") that resides in the Cutright backyard. Among the many problems Venola Mae has with this arrangement are her grandmother's 13 cats, from whom she inherits a case of the fleas. With a wicked sense of humor, Venola Mae holds her own, despite her numerous insecurities, as it becomes increasingly clear that Grandma can no longer fend for herself. Neither Ware (Sea Monkey Summer, 1996) nor Yalowitz--in his comic black-and-white drawings that pepper the journal--strain credibility in portraying this as the work of a 12-year-old girl; Venola Mae's voice is consistently winning, even when she is exhaustively cataloging her fears and annoyances, the small injustices, doubts, and occasional moments of compassion that beset her.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 106pp
Publisher: Orchard