• by Patty Dann
  • Narrated by Elizabeth Evans
  • 4 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Mrs. Flax was happiest when she was leaving a place, but I wanted to stay put long enough to fall down crazy and hear the Word of God. I always called my mother Mrs. Flax."
So begins this extraordinary first novel about one wild year in the life of 14-year-old Charlotte Flax, when she and her sister Kate move with Mrs. Flax into a sleepy 1960's Massachusetts town. Mrs. Flax is a woman who wears polka-dot dresses and serves hors d'oeuvres for dinner every night, and Kate is a child who basically wants to be a fish.
And then there's Charlotte, who in Patty Dann's hands, is transformed into a young woman of infinite whim and variety. Charlotte's main ambition in life is to become a saint, preferably martyred, though she's Jewish. She's smitten with the shy young caretaker at the convent at the top of the hill. Dann has created a young girl who accepts the unkindness of the mad universe in which she's whirling and takes it on with a savage glee.
Charlotte Flax is like no one you have ever met - and someone you know very well.


Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, April 2013 - As a nerdy book type, I always thought I had a pretty good handle on all of the book-to-movie adaptations out there—until this little gem was presented in a meeting two months ago. I had zero idea that one of my all-time favorite movies started out as a book, but now I can’t WAIT to listen to it. Patty Dann’s debut novel was a small hit when it released back in 1986, earning the attention of book clubs and filmmakers alike, but the success of the movie starring Winona Ryder and Cher may have wiped away cultural knowledge of the book. Regardless, reviews of the original work continue to be glowing, and I’m more than excited to experience the tumultuous Flax family in narrator Elizabeth Evans’ capable hands. —Emily, Audible Editor


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Oh gosh. I got so unbelievably excited when I saw that this was finally going to be available from Audible. When I was a teenager I was in LOVE with this movie. Who didn't secretly want a mom like Cher? But I was still pretty hesitant going into this - 80s cheesiness is one thing. The idea of "seeing" this in print was kind of scary. After all, what if the movie were better, or worse yet, what if the book hadn't held up over the years?

I'm here to tell you that the book and the movie are both equally good. This is a horse of a different color to be sure, but after listening to it I can honestly say that one doesn't eclipse the other. They're both basically their own thing. And as far as I'm concerned Charlotte's coming of age story is just as funny and touching now as it was when it was first written.

I can honestly say I wasn't expecting this book to be as fun as it was. There were moments when I was laughing out loud on my commute to work, and there were moments where I just wanted to sit and be still for a moment because Patty Dann made me remember what it was like to be young, when you felt so much and the world seemed so big. Charlotte is unique in the world of teen fiction. She's the type of character you can see evolving right before your eyes. I loved seeing how she learned to navigate the world around her

Over all this was a great listen. I got everything I wanted from it and then some. Recommended!

A big Thank You to the staff at Audible for making this happen!
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- Daryl "echostecho"

Coming of Age Never Gets Old

Remember "Mermaids" the movie with Winona Ryder as the fierce 14 year old heroine, Christina Ricci in tadpole stage, and— Cher?

Yes, we recall Cher closing her eyes and pinning the map for their next move. Actor Bob Hoskins creating a "magical mermaid bedroom" for the girls. Baby Christina Ricci nearly drowning in a creek because Winona is getting her first kiss! Who can forget the Shoop-shoop song?

Well, this excellent book by Patty Dann gave birth to that movie, and it’s as poignant as ever. Coming-of-age never gets old.

Dann's novel is better than its cinematic counterpart. The characters are so well drawn, so identifiable, it’s like reaching into the past and shaking hands with old friends and neighbors.
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- Susie "I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South.""

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-09-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios