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In Zanesville

A Novel
Beard, Jo Ann (Book - 2011 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
In Zanesville
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Item Details

The beguiling fourteen-year-old narrator of IN ZANESVILLE is a late bloomer. She is used to flying under the radar-a sidekick, a third wheel, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose Eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent. Luckily, she has a best friend, a similarly undiscovered girl with whom she shares the everyday adventures of a 1970s American girlhood, incidents through which a world is revealed, and character is forged. In time, their friendship is tested-- by their families' claims on them, by a clique of popular girls who stumble upon them as if they were found objects, and by the first, startling, subversive intimations of womanhood. With dry wit and piercing observation, Jo Ann Beard shows us that in the seemingly quiet streets of America's innumerable Zanesvilles is a world of wonders, and that within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant and unforgettable.
Authors: Beard, Jo Ann
Title: In Zanesville
a novel
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
Characteristics: 289 p. ;,22 cm.
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Local Note: 2 3 6 8 9 14 15
ISBN: 9780316084475
0316084476
Statement of Responsibility: Jo Ann Beard
Subject Headings: Teenage girls Fiction. Nineteen seventies Fiction. City and town life Illinois Fiction. Illinois Fiction.
Topical Term: Teenage girls
Nineteen seventies
City and town life
LCCN: 2010041808
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From the critics


Library Staff

It's the 1970s and the novel's unnamed 14-year-old narrator is beginning high school after a summer spent in close company with her best friend, Felicia, as the two babysit an unruly set of six kids-the novel opens with one of the kids setting their house on fire. With freshman year comes realiza... Read More »


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Jan 18, 2013
  • GailRoger rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

There are three Zanesvilles in the United States; this one appears to be a tiny community south of Springfield, Illinois. (The towns of Heyworth and Waynesville are mentioned.) The time covers the months between the summer of 1972 and the following winter. ("Ooh Child" is called an "old" song and "Ben" [released the summer of 1972] is quoted.) Our heroine, whose name may be "Jan", is definitely not "Joan", and is in all likelihood Jo Ann, is fourteen, gifted, and a late-bloomer. In 1972's small-town America, this means she is still a little girl emotionally when the book opens. We follow her through a series of seemingly unimportant adolescent incidents which are, of course, life-changing to her, and by the end, we are hearing the thoughts and ideas of a teenager.

This is not a Young Adult novel. This is closer to being a memoir from someone who remembers exactly what it was like to be no longer pre-adolescent, but only barely -- and to have no idea what to do about it. Beard writes skillfully and truthfully. It may be lacking in sex and violence, but it is, nevertheless, a book for grown-ups.

The audio-book is inventively read by Jo Anna Perrin.

Nov 19, 2012
  • acritics rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It was a fine story. But I never felt like I really connected with the narrator. I’m slightly bothered that I can’t even remember her name, and I don’t know if it’s because I have forgotten or because we never learn it in the book.

Jul 12, 2012
  • rosienorthvan rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

boring.

In Zanesville follows and unnamed protagonist and her best friend, Felicia, through the summer of their 14th year. Set in the 1970s in Zanesville, IL, Beard beautifully evokes the pain and promise of female adolescence in a setting so authentic it took me right back to shag carpet, the Rockford Files and slipping hand-written notes into a friend's school locker. The usual teen escapades take place involving babysitting, boys, and popularity while the girls also navigate the bewilderment of imperfect parents and the evolution of their friendship.

Feb 20, 2012
  • mmg2681 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This book really wasnt what I expected it to be. No real chapters, jumping from one story to the next with no real transitions or "what happened next?"

Jan 02, 2012
  • lilylibrarian rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

In Zanesville is both a timeless story of a girl's coming of age in small town America, and a evocative portrait of the late '60's. (And it WAS late 1960's, not the '70's as stated elsewhere. I was there, and I was Joan's age.)

Dec 20, 2011
  • halgeon rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Really enjoyed this book. Beard captures so well the emotions and thoughts that go through the heart and mind of the teenage narrator. Reading it, I was taken back to my own 70s-era junior and senior high school experience with my two best friends, where every social nuance was analyzed and parsed for days and weeks on end.

Dec 12, 2011
  • ownedbydoxies rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Not sure why this book is labeled as 'teen'. Except for the fact the main character is a teenager, it's very much an adult read in terms of content, although some y/a readers would enjoy this as well. The author revisits a 70's era teenage life. It's very funny at times as well as being very well-written.

A wryly perceptive 14-year-old narrates this coming-of- age tale set in small-town '70s America.

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