Fleeing a turbulent Guatemala with her missionary parents, Penny returns to America and is forced to deal with a fresh kind of trauma: summer Bible camp for Mennonite teens. Along with her outspoken and rebellious friend, Gina, Penny struggles to deal with her past, the camp's fierce regulations, and the sexual energy that electrifies the air between the campers, counselors, and even visitors. This coming-of-age story offers an intimate look into a young girl’s attempt to find her place and start figuring out which rules are worth breaking.
Ploughshares, the literary magazine of Emerson College.
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Sweet story for middle school girls
- Me & My Girls
Beautiful Story, Unfortunate Spanish Pronunciation
The only reason the audio edition is not better than the print version is because the narrator's pronunciation of Spanish is horrible! If the listener has never taken an introductory Spanish course, the listener will not detect anything is wrong. However, anyone with even a basic level of Spanish proficiency will not only cringe, but find the pronunciation unintelligible. When Penny, the protagonist, encounters Lucas, a fellow M.K. (missionary kid) from Honduras, they engage in a casual conversation about Guatemala, Honduras, and the common aspects of Central America they know and share. In the written story, this is a a wonderful moment for Penny, who is trying to navigate unfamiliar territory -- US culture, her rural and conservative Mennonite heritage, and adolescent sexual expression. Unfortunately, the Spanish is so poorly pronounced by the voice artist that I couldn't understand the Spanish being used. When the narrator then provides the English translation I was amazed at how the words were butchered. What the reader of Small Country identifies as a moment of hope for Penny in the written story, becomes, for the Spanish proficient listener, an extremely awkward, cringe-worthy sequence of events.What would have just been a misfortune early in the story when the Spanish is used in casual conversation, absolutely destroys the climax of the story. King beautifully weaves two dramatic climaxes together, a real-time event prompting a vivid flashback. Unfortunately for the Spanish-proficient listener, the incredible climactic build is dashed by Holloway's unfortunate mispronunciation of "señor" (saynyor) spoken by a Guatemalan character as "senior" (SEEnyor). The recording is painful.If you haven't guessed by now. This audiobook needs to be re-recorded. The current narration does not do justice to the storyline.
King has created a story that is as vibrant and complex as a Guatemalan huipil. At the same moment that we are laughing with Penny through her awkwardness our hearts wrench with understanding her desire to belong and to find something familiar. At the same moment in which Penny is confronting a great moral and developmental dilemma, she is processing monumental moments from her past. King manages to weave elements of Penny's past into the present in order to create a story which is funny, heart-wrenching, triumphant, and familiar to anyone who has been caught between two cultures.
I am not certain who I would have cast as a narrator. However, whoever is in charge of casting voice talent, or whoever served as producer for this audio recording, REALLY needs to do quality control of "bilingual" voice talent.
Penny. While it's not a Guatemalan meal, Penny deserves to chow down on some papusas and forget the difficulties of navigating adolescence and cultural identity.