Icy Sparks

Icy Sparks

Large Print - 2001
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A New York Times Notable Book and the March 2001 selection of Oprah's Book Club. Icy Sparks is the sad, funny and transcendent tale of a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950's. Gwyn Hyman Rubior's beautifully written first novel revolves around Icy Sparks, an unforgettable heroine in the tradition of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or Will Treed in Cold Sassy Tree. At the age of ten, Icy, a bright, curious child orphaned as a baby but raised by adoring grandparents, begins to have strange experiences. Try as she might, her "secrets"-verbal croaks, groans, and physical spasms-keep afflicting her. As an adult, she will find out she has Tourette's Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, but for years her behavior is the source of mystery, confusion, and deep humiliation. Narrated by a grown up Icy, the book chronicles a difficult, but ultimately hilarious and heartwarming journey, from her first spasms to her self-acceptance as a young woman. Curious about life beyond the hills, talented, and energetic, Icy learns to cut through all barriers-physical, mental, and spiritual-in order to find community and acceptance. Along her journey, Icy faces the jeers of her classmates as well as the malevolence of her often-ignorant teachers-including Mrs. Stilton, one of the most evil fourth grade teachers ever created by a writer. Called willful by her teachers and "Frog Child" by her schoolmates, she is exiled from the schoolroom and sent to a children's asylum where it is hoped that the roots of her mysterious behavior can be discovered. Here Icy learns about difference-her own and those who are even more scarred than she. Yet, it isn't until Icy returns home that she really begins to flower, especially through her friendship with the eccentric and obese Miss Emily, who knows first-hand how it feels to be an outcast in this tightly knit Appalachian community. Under Miss Emily's tutelage, Icy learns about life's struggles and rewards, survives her first comical and heartbreaking misadventure with romance, discovers the healing power of her voice when she sings, and ultimately-takes her first steps back into the world. Gwyn Hyman Rubio's Icy Sparks is a fresh, original, and completely redeeming novel about learning to overcome others' ignorance and celebrate the differences that make each of us unique.
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : G.K. Hall, 2001.
ISBN: 9780783895093
Branch Call Number: LGPRINT FICTION Rubio Gwyn
Characteristics: 472 p. (large print) ;,24 cm.


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Feb 11, 2014

I took this on vacation and found it was a good choice - a quick read that kept my interest from beginning to end. I don´t think it is award-winning material. The premise - a girl growing up with Turette´s and how she and those around her dealt with it in the early fifties when not much was known. Actually, the condition itself was quite secondary in that there was little expansion on it other than Icy´s own description of her actions. The relationships she had were somewhat unbelievable. Either they really loved her and laid it on with a trowel, or they ridiculed her. I do think it is a good read though if you like that interpersonal treatment and you want something a bit stimulating.

Jul 11, 2012

I liked the topic of the book but found the actual book to be just ok. It had a nice ending, though, and was not at all depressing like some other books in Oprah's book club.

Jul 09, 2011

completed this book on July 8, 2011

ltrout May 31, 2011

What a nice ending this book had! It is about Tourette's Syndrome but so much more. One person CAN make a difference, and then it can be played forward.

I don't usually like Oprah's books, but this one was a pleasant surprise.

May 16, 2010

There are two incarnations of Oprah’s book club: the first phase chick lit series, and the second phase lit lit series. This book is from the first phase. I also assume that this is one of the books that led to the second phase. I do like chick lit: it is fun, fast, and engaging. It’s not that this book wasn’t all of those, but it also just wasn’t that great. The subject (a girl in the South during the 50s suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome before anybody knows what that is) is much stronger than the story. I bought this book at a thrift store but I am going to pass it off to my mom.


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Jul 23, 2015

A girl develops Tourette's and is an outcast in her community


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