With a theme of time and place, the Reaney Library, in cooperation with the Mohawk Valley Library System, will begin their fall book discussion series on Saturday, September 14 with the novel the Crazy Ladies of Pearl Street by Trevanian.
The place is Albany, New York. The year is 1936. Six-year-old Jean-Luc LaPointe, his little sister, and their spirited but vulnerable young mother have been abandoned—again—by his father, a charmer and a con artist. With no money and no family willing to take them in, the LaPointes manage to create a fragile nest at 238 North Pearl Street. For the next eight years, through the Great Depression and Second World War, they live in the heart of the Irish slum, with its ward heelers, unemployment, and grinding poverty. As Jean-Luc discovers, it’s a neighborhood of “crazyladies”: Miss Cox, the feared and ridiculed teacher who ignites his imagination; Mrs. Kane, who runs a beauty parlor/fortune-telling salon in the back of her husband’s grocery store; Mrs. Meehan, the desperate, harried matriarch of a thuggish family across the street; lonely Mrs. McGivney, who spends every day tending to her catatonic husband, a veteran of the Great War; and Jean-Luc’s own unconventional, vivacious mother.
Jean-Luc is a voracious reader who never stops dreaming of a way out of the slum. He gradually takes on responsibility for the family’s survival with a mix of bravery and resentment while his mom turns from spells of illness and depression to eager planning for the day when “our ship will come in.” It’s a heartfelt and unforgettable look back at one child’s life in the 1930s and ’40s, a story that will be remembered long after the last page is turned.
The discussion will be facilitated by Ali MacDonald. All are welcome as we gather and discuss. Copies of the book are provided in either print or audio.
The October selection is Boston Girl by Anita Diamant to be followed by North River authored by Pete Hamill.
Anyone desiring further information is invited to contact Dawn Lamphere at 518-568-7822.
Book Club meets the 2nd Saturday of the month unless otherwise noted.