Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Brooks, Martha, 1944-
New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2003.
ISBN 0374378061

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Life in a small Manitoba town seems pretty ordinary at first.  Lynda is working in her cafe while her son sleeps upstairs.  Dolores and Mary await word on the birth of Mary's first great grandchild.  Del is lost in memories of his brother who died 35 years ago.  And then Noreen shows up in town.  Seventeen years old and messed up, no one could possibly know how she will shake up all those she touches.  She's run away from her boyfriend after stealing his car and all his money.  Now she finds out she's pregnant as well.  Taken in by Lynda, Noreen seems to ruin everything she touches.  How will Lynda, Dolores, Mary and Del be changed forever by this young girl?

Booktalk #2

                     Did you ever get really angry at the main character of a story?  Even though Noreen, a seventeen-year-old girl, has experienced rejection from her mother and stepfather, you will find it difficult to feel sorry for this heartless girl.  Noreen lives with her stepsister and her husband Gerry who offer Noreen the only security she knows.  When they insist that Noreen visit her mother & stepfather once a week or she can no longer live with them, Noreen decides to move on.  Her adventures begin when she meets Wesley Cuthand.  Right away she captures his heart, but she will leave him heart-broken when she steals his truck, takes his money, and runs away to Pembina Lake, a desolate prairie town.

                     The people Noreen meets in Pembina Lake are already struggling to make a living in this impoverished town, dealing with troubles of their own past that have left them sad, lonely, and without enthusiasm for life.  Noreen’s arrival in town adds to their troubles.  It seems that every person who shows her kindness in Pembina Lake is touched by calamity of Noreen’s doing.  Even though these “accidents” are unintentional, you will want to scream at Noreen to be more considerate of others, to be less wrapped up in herself!

                     Read TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HEARTLESS GIRL to see if Noreen continues to create a path of calamity or will leave the people of Pembina Lake a little wiser with hope for a happier future. (Rebecca Elswick,, CLIS student University of South Carolina)

SUBJECTS:     Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
                        City and town life -- Fiction.
                        Manitoba -- Fiction.
                        Canada -- Fiction.


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