Plenty Porter by Brandon Noonan

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Plenty Porter by Brandon Noonan

A couple weeks ago, I was reading Rules of Survival, and I was a little shocked when one of the minor characters suddenly moved to Virginia Beach (my home town), since I don't think I've ever seen VB mentioned in print like that before, so imagine my surprise when I started reading Plenty Porter, and discovered that it takes place about 15 miles from my mom's hometown!

My mom grew up in Monmouth, IL (which I like to refer to as Pleasantville), population 9000, which is just 15 miles south of Alexis (population 900!), and most of our family still lives in the area. One of my cousins even recently bought a house in Alexis. And when I showed the book to my mom, she realized that when she was teaching preschool there in the late 70s, she actually had a student with the last name Noonan -- and in a community that small, he would almost have to be related to the author in some way!

But onto the book itself: Plenty is twelve years old, and the youngest of eleven siblings (thus her name), and when her oldest sister, Marcie, starts acting strange and losing her hair, it is up to Plenty to figure out what's bothering her. In the process, Plenty finds that she has a valuable place in her family -- despite being the youngest.

I really wanted to like this one so much more than I did. I think part of it was the fact that I kept getting distracted by the setting, and trying to figure out if it was actually accurate. (I do seriously doubt that there was an Alexis Middle School in the 50s -- it probably would have been Alexis Junior High, but I don't know for sure). But I also found myself getting confused by Noonan's writing, and the order he would tell his story in. For example, he would tell the reader at the beginning of the chapter what was going to happen in the chapter -- so the rest of the chapter seemed like he was just filling in the details. I'm pretty sure this was his first novel, however, and I'll definitely be interested to see what he'll write in the future!

This is the public library in Alexis -- it was closed the day we were in town, so I took a picture.

Find Plenty Porter in a library near you!


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