Wisconsin, 1961. Evelyn Button Peters is nine when Winnalee Malone and her sister, Freeda, blow into town-and from the moment she sees them, Button knows this will be a summer unlike any other. Much to her mother's dismay, Button is fascinated by the Malone sisters, especially Winnalee, a feisty scrap of a thing who carries around a shiny silver ...
Wisconsin, 1961. Evelyn Button Peters is nine when Winnalee Malone and her sister, Freeda, blow into town-and from the moment she sees them, Button knows this will be a summer unlike any other. Much to her mother's dismay, Button is fascinated by the Malone sisters, especially Winnalee, a feisty scrap of a thing who carries around a shiny silver urn containing her mother's ashes and a tome she calls The Book of Bright Ideas. It is here, Winnalee tells Button, that she records everything she learns: her answers to the mysteries of life. But sometimes those mysteries conceal a truth better left buried. In this summer of dry heat and family upheaval, loyalties will be tested, unlikely alliances formed, and devastating secrets revealed. And when it's over, no one-from Winnalee and her sister to Button and her family-will ever be the same.
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I chose the book because of the cover, of a little girl wearing a tiera and a tutu with a book strapped across her waist.
Anyway, The Book of Bright Ideas, written by Sandra Kring centers around 9 year old Button, family and a summer of friendship.
Button is our narrator and the story takes off in the first few pages as she and we are introduced to two strangers (20 year old Freeda and her sister Winnalee who is also 9) while in town with her loving aunt.
The story centers on the friendship with the two girls and between the women in their lives. Winnalee's sister Freeda, Button's Mother Jewel and Button's Aunt Verdella.
I loved the characters who were very real and most of them likable.
From Button's take on life to Winnalee carrying her mom's ashes in a vase. To the leather bound book of bright ideas and fairy hunting, the story is very human, very possible, very readable.
As for the title of the book, Winnalee believes when she has one hundred bright ideas, she will have all the clues to life figured out. I had nothing figured out. The story had twists and turns, and every time I thought I had it all figured out, I didn't.
On the adult side, like her daughter, Jewel Peters finds a best friend, in Freeda Malone, the young woman she had initially hated.
I enjoyed both friendship stories and with the men playing supporting roles this is a great female friendship read.
My favorite character had to be Aunt Verdella for her unconditional love to everyone involved and for offering of love even when it was unwanted or neglected. We should all strive to be the kind of neighbor that Verdella puts out to the world. Someone who can see the good in everybody while fighting her own past demon.
The book while mostly about friendship is also about how running from our deep dark secrets can and will effect us, and the people around us.
I recommend this book to anyone who needs a great beach read, go alone though because you will not want to be interrupted. Also, for anyone who was a child of the late 60's, 70's. I loved the references to the fashion, the make-up and hair, the candy button's on paper that Button and Winnalee ate and the pot holder sale they held to make some spending money.
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