Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Amazon Papers

Book: The Amazon Papers
Author: Beverly Keller
Published: 1996

16-year-old Iris wishes her mom and aunt would lay off. So what if she prefers reading philosophy and fixing cars to going out on dates and having adventures? She’s happy the way she is. Even if she does wish that gorgeous pizza deliveryman would pay her a little more attention. Let other girls drink the cup of life; Iris is happy the way she is. Her staid reputation backfires, however, when her mother takes off on vacation and not only leaves her home alone, but saddles her with a pair of demonic under-five cousins. Nothing can happen with Iris around, can it?

Iris didn’t think so either, until she gets her foot smashed by a stiletto heel, her mom’s car gets stripped in the parking lot of a bowling alley, and she winds up at the airport at midnight to pick up an incontinent dog. If this is the cup of life, she wishes the damn waiter would come back.

It probably took me about an hour and a half to read, but I grinned all the way through. The whole thing has the feel of a Marx Brothers comedy, and Iris’s realization that she may not be the sensible girl everyone takes her for increases with each new disaster, until she finally takes control of her own destiny. Keller’s dry, literate humor and her sense of a heroine in thoroughly over her head makes this a quick little read that you’ll enjoy.

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