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THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN by Coco Irvine

THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN

A Girl's Diary of Life on Summit Avenue in the Jazz Age

By Coco Irvine

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8166-7306-3
Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

On Jan. 1, 1927, Coco Irvine, almost 13, began a year-long diary of her daily life in St. Paul, Minn. In the 1970s, she revisited the handwritten diary, edited it and had it typed up. After her death, it was privately published and distributed to the family. The University Of Minnesota Press has now framed it with essays from the retired journalist who discovered it in the archive of the Minnesota Historical Society. “Through no fault of my own” is a repeated refrain, as young Coco gets into one scrape after another: telling a dirty joke at the dinner table, setting off the school fire alarm and crashing her sister’s car. The glimpses of Coco’s privileged life in the Roaring 20s are intriguing and humorous, but what makes this account so appealing is the clear evocation of what it is to be 13—impatient to be grown up yet still childlike in many ways. Coco’s innocence will make today’s readers smile. Her newfound interest in boys, especially one she calls “He,” who might or might not like her, will resonate with middle-school girls. Peg Meier’s introduction explains the story’s provenance and provides some context; her conclusion summarizes the rest of Coco’s life. Give this actual diary to readers who have enjoyed books in the Dear America series. The tiny type font may put them off at first, but before they finish the first entry they’ll be hooked. (Nonfiction. 10-14)