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Mama's Shoes por Rebecca D. Elswick
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Mama's Shoes (edição 2011)

por Rebecca D. Elswick

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By the time Sylvia Richardson is eighteen, she has buried her parents; given birth to a daughter; and become a widow. It is 1942, and World War II has destroyed Sylvia's dream of dancing in red heels through life to the melody of a Hank Snow record. Instead, she is raising her daughter, Sassy, alone in the coal mining town she vowed to leave behind. By 1955, thirteen-year-old Sassy has been brought up on a stiff dose of Mama's lessons on how to be a lady even though Mama drinks, smokes, and dates a myriad of men. But everything changes the day a woman accuses Sylvia of trying to steal her husband, forcing Sassy to come to terms with her Mama's harsh teen years. For Sylvia, only the support of kith and kin can rescue her from her mistakes. Spanning twenty years, Mama's Shoes is a haunting saga of love, despair, and forgiveness as a cadence of female voices weaves a spell of mountain lore and secrets, defines family as more than blood kin, and proves second chances can bring happiness. "An absolutely wonderful novel, its setting a beautifully realized small Appalachian coal town, its characters so vivid they're practically jumping off the page." Lee Smith, author of Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger and The Last Girls… (mais)
Membro:HaroldTitus
Título:Mama's Shoes
Autores:Rebecca D. Elswick
Informação:Abbott Press (2011), Paperback, 340 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:****
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Mama's Shoes por Rebecca D. Elswick

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Mama's Shoes is a charming story about the lives of Sassy, Sylvia and Aunt Hat. It takes place during World War II and deals with the struggles of a young teenaged mother who is widowed by the war. Not only does Sylvia have to deal with raising a child completely on her own but she has to also deal with the loss of her husband. It's hard enough to raise a child on your own but to have to deal with not only the loss of your spouse but then months later to have your suitor also killed would have been hard for any grown woman to deal with. Although Sylvia goes through a rough time of not only having the baby blues and bereavement and temporarily gives Sassy away, she finds the courage and love to obtain her back and does her best to raise her the best that she can on her own.

Rebecca Elswick did a wonderful job with the characters. Reading the story it is easy to picture the characters and to feel what they are going through and how they feel. Sassy is a smart, young lady who feels as though she isn't good enough because she comes from a poor family. Many girls today can easily identify with this character irregardless of what type of family they come from. Sylvia is a hard-working single-parent that does what she can to raise her child despite never having had anyone to really show her how to do so as her parents died while she was still a teenager. Aunt Hat is an eccentric yet lovable character that everyone can identify with. What family doesn't have someone like Aunt Hat?

Rebecca Elswick's strong ability to keep your attention throughout the whole book is incredible. This is one of those books that keep you glued to it until you finish. There was never a dull moment in this story. She has a very descriptive writing style that pulls you into the story as it comes alive around you.

I recommend that you read this charming story when you get a chance. It is filled with tremendous love and commitment of a young woman who despite all that the world throws at her prevails through to the end. ( )
  AuthorPamFunke | Jul 25, 2014 |
An amazing story of love. Not the usual type of love story between a man and a woman but between a mother and daughter. Very early on this book had me hooked. The writing is excellent. The characters are rich and touch you deeply with their emotions and hardships. A circle of strong women who all play and important role in each other's lives and who remind you to be proud of who are and where you come from. ( )
  LiteraryChanteuse | Aug 14, 2012 |
Recognizing that I am a male, not having a direct appreciation of the mother-daughter relationship, not responding to the characters and plot the way I suspect many women have and will, not appreciative of every aspect of the book, I do believe that Mama’s Shoes deserves praise.

I liked how the author presented Coal Valley: the individual buildings, the beauty shop, the apartment, the ever-present coal dust, many of its people. Much later in the book she juxtaposed nicely the luxuriance of two suburban Pennsylvania homes, which the main character’s daughter Sassy experienced.

The theme of undeserved misfortune, self-destruction, and redemption is a worthy one. A daughter’s discovery of her mother’s human failings and that she is able to place them in reasonable perspective I also found appealing.

Certain scenes were well narrated. I liked in particular the scene that revealed the mother’s conflict of emotions as she wrote a letter to Aunt Hattie giving her consent to have Sassy attend a boarding school in Tacoma, Washington. Another example was the opening of the scene in which Sylvia, the mother, regained consciousness after having been in an automobile accident. The brief scenes in Seattle involving Sylvia and Isabel, the Jewish European immigrant, were evocative. The author portrayed well Sylvia’s torment in not being able to love her infant daughter and, simultaneously, being hurt that the child was unresponsive to her.

I appreciated additionally the author’s use of letters, two in particular: Gaines’s last letter to Sylvia and Sylvia’s to Sassy explaining why she had approved of the idea of sending Sassy to the Tacoma boarding school.

The major problem I had with the book was that certain events stretched believability. Sassy’s extreme reaction and subsequent behavior after having witnessed her mother being verbally assaulted in public by her boyfriend John’s wife I could not accept. Indeed, the twelve-year-old disapproved of her mother’s behavior with men, but she cared about her mother and she wasn’t the sort of girl at that time that coveted the social approval of her peers. I would have expected, instead, her anger being directed at the man’s wife. The number of misfortunes that befell Sylvia in such a brief period also bothered me. The event I absolutely could not accept was the incredible coincidence that involved Sylvia, Sassy, and the Martin family. Rather than reading what appeared to be a tragedy, I felt at times that I was reading a melodrama.

I had some difficulty caring about the characters. I felt sympathy for Sylvia’s tragedies, but it took me awhile to warm to her. Some detail about her mothering of Sassy prior to Sassy becoming twelve would have helped. I liked Sassy more and more, especially when she began to assert herself. Madge was a strong character throughout.

Finally, I would have preferred that the story had been told in third person. The author could have withheld information just as readily as in first person but would have been able to use her own voice in the narration. The three main characters being limited in their education, they narrated their thoughts, feelings, and actions with simple language. There was too much sameness of voice. Revealing their thoughts and emotions herself, the author could have more dramatically conveyed what she intended. ( )
  HaroldTitus | Mar 16, 2012 |
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By the time Sylvia Richardson is eighteen, she has buried her parents; given birth to a daughter; and become a widow. It is 1942, and World War II has destroyed Sylvia's dream of dancing in red heels through life to the melody of a Hank Snow record. Instead, she is raising her daughter, Sassy, alone in the coal mining town she vowed to leave behind. By 1955, thirteen-year-old Sassy has been brought up on a stiff dose of Mama's lessons on how to be a lady even though Mama drinks, smokes, and dates a myriad of men. But everything changes the day a woman accuses Sylvia of trying to steal her husband, forcing Sassy to come to terms with her Mama's harsh teen years. For Sylvia, only the support of kith and kin can rescue her from her mistakes. Spanning twenty years, Mama's Shoes is a haunting saga of love, despair, and forgiveness as a cadence of female voices weaves a spell of mountain lore and secrets, defines family as more than blood kin, and proves second chances can bring happiness. "An absolutely wonderful novel, its setting a beautifully realized small Appalachian coal town, its characters so vivid they're practically jumping off the page." Lee Smith, author of Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger and The Last Girls

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