Saturday, July 19, 2014

Goodnight June, by Sarah Jio

It's hard to think of a world without Goodnight Moon in it. That book, and the great green room, escaped my notice as I emerged from childhood, though I suspect it was probably borrowed from the library a time or two and read to me, but didn't make it into our home collection. I expect it might be because my mother strenuously didn't like Runaway Bunny as I learned when I became a mother, and she wouldn't allow the book in her home. She called it "pathological parenting", but that's another story. What this story, Goodnight June is, is one author's idea of what could have been the story behind that childhood classic. There are two story lines blended together, one told through letters, the other a modern day angle centering on June, a brittle financial type person, who inherits a failing children's bookstore from her aunt.

While the idea was decent enough, there were a couple of things that bothered me in the book -- primarily the correspondence between June's aunt Ruby, and her dear friend, Margaret Wise Brown. The device just didn't ring true to me. I expect that, in part, it might be due to the notion that two friends so completely focused on solving the problems of the other, answering point by point issues brought up in a letter. Having kept lively correspondence with friends for many years, and even into the electronic age, I know how much subjects can slide, even with the best intentions. A letter is not necessarily a written conversation..  The other thing was the caviler manner with which June uses her hypertension medication, popping them when she feels tense or when she thinks she might need them. That kind of stuff drives me nuts, as does misinformation in a TV show or something.

But, even with my dissatisfaction and a somewhat contrived nature, the book was a likable enough diversion for a gray day, even when the plot line became somewhat predictable. I am glad, though, that Ms Jio didn't take an easy out, and have someone rich from Seattle bail out the failing Blue Bird book store, even though there was some name dropping periodically in the story-line.  I found myself periodically whispering the lines to the story which starts, "In the great green room there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon."

And now this quiet old lady is whispering, "hush".

Tags: thank-you-charleston-county-libraryan-author-i-readbooks-about-booksok-but-not-great , nice cover

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