I have to feel a little bit bad about putting off reading Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen. I have seen this book around for a few years. This summer when we were on vacation with my mom it was the book she brought along to read as her book club selection. And I heard good things about it, but despite all of that I never picked it up to read myself.
This past week I downloaded it on my kindle. I had seen Kagen's follow up novel, Good Graces, coming out and was instantly smitten with the cover. I checked out Good Graces from the library, the entire time planning on reading Whistling in the Dark prior to the sequel. So, last Sunday I began digging around in my TBR piles, certain I owend Kagen's first book. After much looking I finally realized that Whistling in the Dark is not a book I own. So, even though I had to return Good Graces before I would have a chance to read it, I was bound and determined to read Whistling in the Dark. The good news is that it forced me to use my kindle, and I loved the book.
Sally O'Malley, a ten year old girl living in Milwaukee in 1959, is a narrator I fell in love with. I could see things through her ten year old eyes. I loved how her Grandma's thyroid problem was located in her leg somewhere. I loved that St. Francis the Sissy was a little light in his loafers. There was plenty of opportunity for me to chuckle to myself while reading.
Sally O'Malley's life isn't easy, either. Her father has died in a car accident, her uncle brain damaged in the same accident. Her mother makes a hasty remarriage to Hall, a man who is anything but loving or fatherly, and then leaves her daughters in his care when she must go to the hospital after being diagnosed with hepatitis. To top it off, Sally is trying to figure out who the child murderer/molesterer is in their neighborhood. Two girls have gone missing and then found dead and Sally is certain the culprit is Officer Rasmussen, their police officer neighbor.
While this is categorized as a mystery and there is a good deal of suspense, I was more taken in with Sally's character and the way she was able to handle the various challenges that came her way.
A brief interview with Kagen is included at book's end. I always enjoy reading what other author's have to say about their path to being published and the way in which they went about writing that first book. I still have those dreams of eventually sitting down someday and writing something, and was encouraged to know that Kagen didn't have Whistling in the Dark published until she was fifty-seven. As I see the number of books she has managed to write now, I smile.
Whistling in the Dark is one of those books I will be telling a lot of people about. I loved it.