Have you read Whistling In the Dark by Lesley Kagen ? I just finished with the book last night. I have been poking along slowly with it this winter because by the time I finish doing other things my eyes are too tired to care about reading.
Kagen managed to find the cadence and simplicity of a child’s voice and thought process while writing this book. It is, I think, a very difficult task to accomplish. As a writer that enjoys the daily “flash fiction” type of writing, I think the long process of writing a novel would make it even more difficult. This is the story of two little girls left with a drunken stepfather and an irresponsible stepsister to fend for themselves while their mother had surgery. The mother contracts hepatitis and is in the hospital for a whole summer. As we can all imagine, the outcome could have been disastrous for them. The distress the child endured seemed insurmountable. In the end I thought it was probably her innocence that saved her. I did get caught up in the language. A child telling what she heard but misinterpreting the meaning while the adult reader takes that same story and makes meaning of her world, became a wonderful story.
I am so hooked on the “perfect” or “near perfect” writing of a Pulitzer Prize winner and the way his/hers tale fits together so perfectly, that I found myself being too critical of the author. I wish I had let it go earlier and just went along for the ride. Why? Well, when I had finished reading, I actually wanted to start all over again. Just plain silly, huh!