Mailbox: A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Danger, Occasional Nakedness, and Faith by Nancy Freund (Genre Fiction: Coming of Age)
This “scattershot novel” is a compilation of 76 different short takes on a variety of subjects seen from the point of view of a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, Sandy Drue. The mailbox referenced in the title is a box into which, over the previous few years, she has been putting scraps of paper with her observations about life. Now she has pulled them together into a composition of sorts.
The little stories themselves are a mix of funny, poignant, and astute interpretations of everything from religion to puberty to how unfunny haunted houses can be. She searches for the meaning of life while contemplating fireflies, loss of loved ones, and the questionable conduct of some of the adults around her. In true stream-of-consciousness behavior, she says whatever comes into her mind at the moment, punctuating her narrative of what’s happening now with an amusing aside or a quick definition of a word she thinks the reader may not know, then exuberantly popping back in to finish where she unceremoniously left off.
This novel is classified as Coming of Age rather than Young Adult, and I believe that’s wise. In true Judy Blume style, the author takes us into the thoughts of a preteen facing the physical changes of young womanhood and beginning to ponder her place in the world. Sandy’s voice is young — at times, she made me think of Junie B. Jones — and the stories she tells most likely have more nostalgic significance and appeal for mature adults than for teenagers who have recently moved out of that phase themselves.
I found this to be primarily a light read, quick, and fun.
Grandma gives Mailbox four stars.
Bella Reads and Reviews received Mailbox via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.