Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Higher Geometry

I first heard of Sharelle Byars Moranville when I read her book, The Snows. I love, love, love this book and have recommended it to many other readers- adults as well as young adults. I also like the fact that the author is from Iowa and writes her books as though they take place in the midwest. I was excited to run across a copy of A Higher Geometry since I loved the Snows so much, and quickly purchased it. I will admit I didn't love this book quite as much as the Snows, but perhaps this book had too much to live up to. A Higher Geometry takes place in the 50s, a time when girls were expected to graduate from high school, get married and have their own family. Anna is a gifted high school math student. While she doesn't really know what she wants her future to hold, she can't really see herself graduating and getting married. She also is very aware of the girls in the community who have had to get married before graduating, bringing disgrace to their families. While Anna doesn't want that to happen to her, either, her boyfriend, Mike, is hard to resist. Anna learns a lot about herself in this slim novel as she wins math competitions and continues to challenge herself academically, she also challenges her parents to allow her to use her gifts, and to let go of some of the conventions they have about the role of women. Perhaps the thing that frustrates me the most about Moranville's book- that this slim novel could have been so much longer with more development- is also it's biggest strength. Not everything is spelled out. Part of my job as the reader is to think about what I am reading and connect the dots. By giving too much away there would be less to think and wonder about.

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