Thursday, May 29, 2008

What We're Reading: The Center of Everything

Laura Moriarty won the George Bennet Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy. The Center of Everything is her first novel.

Evelyn Bucknow, the 10 year old protagonist, is living with her single mother, Tina, in a small apartment outside Kerrville, Kansas. Though Tina is a loving mother, she is still young and immature and prone to making precarious decisions. When Tina's romance with a married man fails, Evelyn turns to her grandmother in an effort to distance herself from her mother's irresponsibility, immorality, and bad luck.

The novel portrays the troubled daughter/mother relationship through the eyes of a teenage girl who is expected to play the role of an adult in the family. A curious student and a careful observer of her teachers, Evelyn winces her way through the trials of adolescence, she comes to terms with the heartbreaking lesson of first love, a birth, and a death. She determines who she is and what she wants to do with the rest of her life, but most of all she learns that compassion for others may be the greatest blessing of all.

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