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A Life of Bright Ideasby Sandra Kring
Synopses & Reviews
A secret tore best friends Evelyn “Button” Peters and Winnalee Malone apart. Now, nearly a decade later, a secret brings them back together.
Nine years ago Button and Winnalee began recording observations in their Book of Bright Ideas, a tome they believed would solve the mystery of how to live a mistake-free life. Now it’s 1970, a time of peace, love, war, and personal heartbreak. Button’s mother is dead and her grieving father has all but abandoned his children. Quiet, thoughtful Button has traded college for a sewing job in her mother’s bridal shop to help her Aunt Verdella raise her whirlwind six-year-old brother. In Button’s free time, she writes letters to the boy she loved from afar through high school, hoping he will come to love her as more than a friend.
Then, like that magical Wisconsin summer of ’61, Button is greeted with the wild, gusty arrival of Winnalee. Now a beautiful flower child, Winnalee is everything Button is not. She’s been to Woodstock and enjoys “free love,” but their steadfast bond of friendship is tested as Button begins to notice the cracks in Winnalee’s carefree façade. And then Winnalee’s mother arrives with a surprise that Button never sees coming, and the fiery determination to put things right in both families once and for all.
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"In Kring's long-awaited sequel to The Book of Bright Ideas, set in Vietnam-era smalltown Wisconsin and full of convoluted relationships, Winnalee Malone returns to her hometown of Dauber, and her best friend Evelyn Peters's life, after a nine-year absence. Evelyn helps her father care for her younger brother, Boho, while pining for her friend Jesse, who is in the Army. When the sexually liberated, drug-taking Winnalee reappears, Evelyn is thrown for a loop. Soon, Winnalee's mother, Freeda — who Winnalee for years had thought was her sister — shows up, too, bringing with her a shocking surprise for Evelyn: Winnalee's infant daughter, whom she left with her mother to come to Dauber. Winnalee had hoped Evelyn's mother could care for her child, not knowing that Evelyn's mother is dead. After Winnalee and Evelyn take a trip to see Winnalee's great-aunt Hannah, who raised her, Winnalee must confront her family history and face the responsibilities of motherhood. Though new readers will find it easy to empathize with — and even grow to love — Evelyn and Winnalee, the novel's intricate relationships may be tough to follow." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Sandra Kring lives in Wisconsin. Her debut novel, Carry Me Home, was a BookSense Notable Pick and a 2005 Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award nominee. The Book of Bright Ideas was named to the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list in 2007. Visit her on the Web at www.sandrakring.com.
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