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If you could sum up Stranger with My Face in three words, what would they be?
Atmospheric. Creeplily plausible.
What did you like best about this story?
Wow, I didn't think anything could be better about a story than the fact that the great (recently "late") Lois Duncan wrote it...but the narrator Alyssa Bresnahan is absolute perfection for the role of an older teen girl living in the 1970s or early 80s. The audiobook was recorded in the 90s; when I think of the Valley Girl voice actors they could have chosen to play a young girl, I shudder! Bresnahan has a youthful tone and intonation but the poise and clear, measured diction of a woman of greater years. She is utterly convincing as a Lois Duncan protagonist: late adolescent/older teen girls who are emotionally or intellectually ready for young womanhood and frustrated when the world and people around them don't seem to recognize that in the way they want.
One other thing I was surprised by: there's a lot of material in this book about a certain non-Western culture, and while much of it was stereotypical, I still felt it was handled better than you might expect a mainstream author in the 70s to do. One of the characters has spent time living in that culture and has a pleasingly balanced view of it and its people, neither demonizing nor exotifying them. I was able to forgive Duncan for the really stereotypical stuff.
Which scene was your favorite?
I loved all the scenes with Laurie's parents. Lois Duncan is just pitch-perfect at doing something that's a lot more difficult than readers might realize: making believable American teenage characters who didn't seem too young or too old for their age, and making them interact in realistic ways with realistically-rendered parents in the context of a modern American family.
The parents in all the Duncan books I've read all come off as people who, if they lived in real life, would indeed act talk and act the way they do. Duncan doesn't insult the reader the way so many young adult and children's -marketed books and movies do ("Home Alone" style, with kids who are always smarter than the adults and adults who make problems for the kid just for the sake of the author's putting obstacles in the kid's way). Duncan's adults usually have good reason---or at least perfectly plausible reasons based on their own backgrounds and motivations--- for not believing or supporting the teens begging for their support. This is crucial! It ups the ante for all the characters and makes the tension that much stronger.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I think I actually did shed a few tears when Laurie's mother talks about something from her past that has come back to affect the story.
Any additional comments?
Readers, rejoice! This is the original book as Lois Duncan wrote it, not the re-issued version from 2011 or 2012 that has been edited to add mention of cell phones and other 'modern" technologies and trends. Lois Duncan books are timeless. Teens and pre-teens read them in the 70s and then a generation later in the 90s. Why on earth is the present generation of young readers being treated as if they're too dumb or intolerant to read a book that's set in a time when, no, there were no cell phones to help the characters get out of their scrapes?
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This book has always been a favorite of by Lois Duncan (not that hers others aren't good) I love the way it felt so real with the view of an average teenager trying to find her place with her life ie:school, friends, family. I love how this book can be relevant for any age group I love the dynamic this book brings I would highly recommend it for anyone
1 of 2 people found this review helpful