Found via BBYA 2010 nominations
Note to self: when going on a weekend outing with your mother, don't take along a book about girls who have less-than-stellar relationships with their mothers! Sure, it might make you appreciate your own mother more, but what a downer!
Madeline, Desiree and Ariel are three very different young women growing up in three very different times. Madeline is quiet and overweight in 1977, the defacto head of the family since her father is gone and her mother prefers to spend the welfare checks on alcohol. Desiree, getting ready to graduate from high school in 1993, tells her story through poetry (and I didn't hate it!), as she tries to avoid her mother and her mother's skeezy boyfriend, finding her only refuge in her high school sweetheart. Ariel, the contemporary girl in 2009, has a workaholic for a mother and is throwing herself at Shane, her new boyfriend that wants her to spend all of her time with him - and only him.
Like I hinted at above, this book is a bit melancholy, but ultimately thoroughly enjoyable.
I always find it supremely satisfying when I reach the end of a book and can sit back and appreciate just how finely crafted the book is. There are complex books out there that can feel like they're being complex just for the sake of complexity; there are others that are exciting and breathtaking but don't necessarily feel like they were crafted. It took me a little bit to really feel immersed in Blue Plate Special, probably because the chapters alternate between three different young women in three different decades, but at the end you can't help but appreciate how deftly Kwasney has woven their stories together.