Synopses & Reviews
Twelve-year-old Chili Sue Mahoney has never been outside of her small Appalachian town. Momma says Mercy Hill, Kentucky, is her “true home,” but Chili longs to see the world—to have the freedom to leave and to explore.
So when Miss Matlock is brought in as the 7th grade substitute teacher, Chili and her classmate Willie Bright are thrilled. Everyone knows Miss Matlock has traveled around the globe. Why shes come back to her childhood home after all this time is a mystery, but Chili and Willie are eager to befriend her despite the rumors. As the three spend time together, Chili learns about the jungles and deserts and cities of the world. But she also discovers that theres more to Mercy Hill than she thought: beauty, in the people and places shes known all her life, and secrets, sometimes where theyre least expected.
Told in vignettes and set in 1970s Appalachia, To Come and Go Like Magic is a heartwarming and hopeful debut novel about family, friendship, and the meaning of home.
"Told in beautifully crafted vignettes, Fawcett's debut is a story of smalltown Appalachian life in the 1970s and finding the courage to leave home. Twelve-year-old Chili Sue Mahoney feels suffocated by her one-road hometown of Mercy Hill, Ky., living alongside mountain people, VISTA workers, and 'welfares.' Adding to her claustrophobia: her pregnant sister, Myra, and her Uncle Lu, whose mind 'comes and goes like the wind,' have moved in after being left by their spouses. Reading is Chili's main escape until a substitute teacher, Miss Matlock, fills her mind with visions of world travel. The more time Chili spends with Miss Matlock (a stark contrast to time spent with her pragmatic family and her destitute friend, Willie), the more Chili yearns to be someone else, living somewhere else. Chili's first-person narrative stretches from poetic thoughts ('I wish the black night could alight like a moth and carry me away on its silent wings') to more down-to-earth observations. Her insights are absorbing and her setbacks heartbreaking, as she weighs the only home she's ever known against the possibilities that loom farther afield. Ages 10 up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Told in vignettes and set in 1970s Appalachia, this novel presents the story of Chilli Sue Mahoney, a girl who has never been outside of her small town. When a new world-traveling substitute teacher arrives, Chilli learns about the world--and to appreciate where she lives.
About the Author
KATIE PICKARD FAWCETT grew up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and spent two years as a social worker in Appalachia. She has counseled and tutored students in the Washington, D.C. area, written ads for Peace Corps and VISTA, and worked for the World Bank writing about development projects in Third World countries. Her personal essays have been published in several magazines, and her favorite diversion is travel and the different cultural experiences it brings. She lives with her husband and son in McLean, Virginia. Visit her on the Web at KatiePickardFawcett.Wordpress.com.