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YA Review: Confessions of Joan the Tall

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YA Review: Confessions of Joan the Tall

06 Dec Posted by in Reviews | Comments Off on YA Review: Confessions of Joan the Tall
YA Review: Confessions of Joan the Tall

Confessions of Joan the Tall by Joan Cusack HandlerConfessions of Joan the Tall by Joan Cusack Handler
Reviewed by: Jennifer Roman
Genre: chick lit, YA, Christian
Publisher: CavanKerry Press
Publication Date: November 13, 2012

Joan Cusack (not THAT Joan Cusack!), a young Catholic girl growing up in 1950s America, worries about pleasing everyone in her life and being accepted by her peers. Being almost six feet tall at 12 years old is also a concern for her, as fitting in with the other students is of utmost importance. Her mother, however, believes that dressing Joan in nice clothes will solve the whole problem, but it sometimes causes more problems for Joan. Written in a journal format, readers learn Joan’s thoughts, desires, and worries as she grows up in a small Long Island Sound community.

Joan worries a lot and appears to be neurotic, but we have to keep in mind that she lives in a different era. Girls are required to wear dresses to school and families eat dinner together every day. People even dress up just to go to the grocery store. Women still don’t have a lot of opportunities, but they are just starting to go to college and drive cars. Joan hopes she can go to college too instead of just secretarial school. She likes boys and worries that God will call her to be a nun instead! Above all else, she worries about fitting in and being accepted by the kids at school. Since she is so tall, this is a big concern and she does experience bullying both from her peers and from her brother. Despite her troubles, Joan is a humorous and fun girl who has a creative outlook on life.

Confessions of Joan the Tall is written as a memoir, and its format takes the form of a young girl’s diary. Instead of seeing a plot followed through from beginning to end, readers see snippets of Joan’s life through her journal entries. At first Joan’s young teen writing is difficult to read because she writes as many young people do: bad spelling; bad punctuation; and run-on sentences make up her style. She capitalizes Anything that is Important to her and underlines the really important things. Even though Joan’s childhood takes place over 60 years ago, Joan still reflects the thoughts and concerns of typical young teen girls today, which makes her story relevant. Rather than being written in clean language, this story is garbled and free-flowing as a diary often is. The thoughts are scattered and topics vary, but it remains interesting.

I really enjoyed this book because even though times have changed, Joan’s worries, concerns, and ideas still ring true. Joan is frequently teased and picked on just for being herself, but she is tough and entertaining. She is a funny, thoughtful girl that makes me laugh over things that would never have crossed my mind. We can see the “Catholic Guilt” everywhere in her writing. Old-school Catholics will laugh as they reminisce their growing-up years, but even non-Catholic readers will get a kick out of her story.

Rated G: This is about a strong Catholic family and does not contain sex, violence, or profanity.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!

Jen Roman

Jen RomanJen is a lifelong book lover. When she is not working or sleeping, she can usually be found reading something. Nothing makes her happy like snuggling up on the couch with a good book, a blanket, and her Labrador Retriever, Daisy. She loves mysteries and suspense, but will happily read just about any genre. She refers to her love of books as a “sickness,” and has stacks and stacks of books waiting in the wings to be read. Jen is a strong supporter of her local library and highly encourages others to support their libraries.

When not reading, Jen can be found crafting, playing with Daisy, volunteering, or spending time with her friends. Jennifer is married and lives with her husband Steve, her cat Roberta, and Daisy in North Canton, OH.




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