TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HEARTLESS GIRL by Martha Brooks
Kirkus Star

TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HEARTLESS GIRL

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Set during ten days in July, this beautifully written story explores the effect of a stranger on a small town. When 17-year-old Noreen steals her boyfriend’s money and car, she ends up in Pembina Lake, Manitoba, stranded by a storm. Lynda, a café owner, takes Noreen in for the night, even though she senses the girl is trouble. An older neighbor, Dolores, elicits Noreen’s life story: a mother who drinks, a physically abusive stepfather, a loving older stepsister exasperated by Noreen’s selfishness, and Wesley, the kind boyfriend she’s deserted. But the “true confessions” are only one part of a narrative that excels at creating palpably real characters. No matter their age, from Lynda’s young son to a sad middle-aged farmer to Dolores’s aging friend Mary, they are utterly human, often edgy and annoying, but ultimately good. Their relationships, conveyed in convincing dialogue, inevitably entail friction as well as growth as each struggles with his or her own concerns. Introducing Noreen into the mix of familiar neighbors changes everyone, if only a little, as they respond to her fear that she can’t love or be loved, and her longing for both. Brooks (Being with Henry, 2000, etc.) has a masterful hand at description, drawing a vivid picture of the town, its lake, and the prairie around it. She seems to know the place and people intimately and, through them, she shares her vision of the richness of ordinary life in all its pain and glory. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: March 11th, 2003
ISBN: 0-374-37806-1
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003




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