When Sally’s family moves to Miami Beach for the winter of 1947, she is excited and nervous at the same time. What will school be like in Florida? Will she make any friends? Will she fit in so far away from home?
Miami Beach has so many things to worry and wonder about, Sally is in for one unforgettable winter!
It’s been forever since I read this last, as I lost my copy during one of my cross-country moves ten years ago. I remember it being one of my favorites, though, SO MUCH a favorite that I almost didn’t want to read it again lest it turn out to be not as good as I wanted it to be.
Alas, it did just that. While I did enjoy revisiting a favorite childhood book, I definitely didn’t love it. I didn’t even really LIKE it all that much.
I’m not sure why. I adore historical fiction and I really like slice-of-life stories with quirky female protagonists, but all the charm I remembered Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself having before seemed to be missing now.
Partly I couldn’t get over the scene where Sally plays concentration camp with her friends. I must have skimmed over that scene when I was a kid, or blocked it from my memory entirely, because I don’t remember anything about it. But it was shocking to see it there now, like finding a bug in your milkshake.
I can appreciate the scene as a view into the mind of a child, one who has to deal with a lot of bad stuff before she’s gained the life experience to process it in a way that doesn’t make me cringe. But I still didn’t enjoy reading it, and that’s not the only thing I didn’t enjoy (though it’s also the “worst” thing).
I didn’t like the characters, not even Sally. I’ve been overwhelmed with WWII books in the last decade and that time period no longer holds any thrall over me. And though I said I liked slice-of-life books, I wasn’t interested in any of the life that was happening in this slice.
Perhaps I was just in entirely the wrong reading mood when I picked this up last month. Otherwise I don’t understand how I could feel almost entirely opposite to how I did only ten years ago. I haven’t changed THAt at much as a reader, surely?
Maybe when I read this book again–because I totally will– I’ll think differently about that scene and about the book as a whole. Maybe I’ll be able to find what I liked about it the first ten times I read it. Maybe I’ll fall in love with it again! That’s an exciting prospect.
Read: January 8, 2015
I don’t think the crappy cover helped any, either. Here’s what my old copy looked like:
I like it WAY more. What do you think?