Oh My Stars
by Lorna Landvik
Category: Fiction / Historical
400 pages; ISBN: 0345472314
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Oh My Stars
Ballantine, Apr 2005, $24.95, 400 pp.
In Mount Crawfiord, Kentucky Erlene Mathers abandons her daughter Violet to be raised by her spouse Judd, a terrific mechanic but an abusive ugly drunk with no quality time for his wallflower giraffe of a child, dubbed Olive Oyl by her peers. In 1935, Miss Eugie Dodds hires the lonely almost sixteen year old Violet to work the night shift at the Marcelline Threads factory. The shy unhappy teen, whose first name is apropos, finds acceptance and a feeling of belonging for the first time in her life. However, on her sweet sixteenth birthday, a machine accident amputates her arm.
Once released from the hospital, Violet concludes she has nothing but bad memories in Mount Crawford so like many others takes the bus to California, but a crash in North Dakota strands Violet and others. Musicians Austin Sykes and Kjel Hedstrom rescue everyone. Violet likes the kind black Austin, but is quite attracted to Kjel and joins the duet, who hopes to pioneer a new style of music to a still somewhat depressed America as the show has just begun.
OH MY STARS is a terrific look at the mid 1930s in America. Fans will appreciate the metamorphosis of Violet from her belief that she is the ugly duckling into a confident swan symbolizing America coming out of the Depression. The cast is fantastic as the audience will believe they are traveling with the heroine and others as readers discover the wonders of the country while Violet seeks her groove. Lorna Landvik provides a delightful Americana tale that will elate historical readers with its depth of characterizations to include the land.
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