More than 350 pages which contain a complete mystery within, this is a work of fiction about a family that includes a gifted grade schooler who writes fiction. It covers the years 1963 -1967 and chronicles the tremendous changes in American society in that short time.
The book focuses on how the social institutions of that era, the churches, schools and families, handled the Civil Rights movement and the changes it brought. Told from a unique point of view, this book is about the American middle class, changed forever by its reactions to the social revolutions above and below its stature. The rise of divorce, decline of the extended family, empowerment of women and minorities and many other changes that directly bear on our times are coped with by adult characters, both prepared and unprepared, accepting and unaccepting while children are left much to their own devices to make sense of the turbulant world.
While not the focus of the book, the new fashion DOLL Barbie is an important and positive influence on the life of the main character and others as well.
The story is told through the eyes of the main character, Victoria, as she struggles to write a book herself. The book contains a complete mystery actually written in the 1960s by a 10 year old. Enjoyable in itself, it strikes a humourous contrast to the tense times and gives unique insight into the inner workings of minds of children.
In American suburbia 1963 girls are vanishing and it is up to amateur teenage detective Barbara Scott to rescue them. Trying to figure out how Barbara can do this alone is Barbara’s creator, aspiring author Victoria Grasso, age 6.
Victoria is determined to make Barbara a credit to the teenage detective fiction genre She fights skepticism, indifference and illogical demands as she attempts to create consistent characters and an understandable plot for her book while also making sense of the chaotic world around her.
Fall 1963 Victoria starts school in a nearby neighborhood, populated by people seeking to mirror the success of the young American President and his family.
Meanwhile, ostensibly promoting justice and peace, institutions have begun quietly rejecting the foundation of faith upon which this world was built. Suddenly that process emerges from shadows, emboldened by violence.
Murder, scandal, prejudice, intolerance and abuse are but a few of the evils that disrupt and shatter this sparkling world.
Victoria strives to control her book as she cannot hope to shape reality. She seeks stability from her parents, school and church. But while social Institutions may fail her, the new fashion doll called Barbie captivates her imagination.
She knows eventually she must emerge in this culture, able to cope, even thrive, while remaining true to herself. Finding this path proves as elusive as finding an ending for her book. Victoria cannot glimpse the right direction. Ultimately she realizes the possibilities her nation will ever again embrace the cornerstone on which it was built may seem bleak, but in seeking enduring truths combined with blessings yet to come, is found the hope for the future.
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