Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Peculiar Family of Sorts

Haven Kimmel, an Indiana native, first humored and intrigued us with her memoir, A Girl Named Zippy. She is still going strong. Her newest novel, The Used World, is about a woman named Hazel who owns the Used World Emporium, a huge antique store, in the small town of Jonah, Indiana. Rebekah and Claudia are her two employees. Their lives become entangled through unusual circumstances, with Hazel's nudging, and they come to form a peculiar kind of family. Haven's characters are quirky, their thoughts are real and unsentimental, and you'd enjoy having them as friends. The author gives you first-person views from Rebekah and Claudia, so you can really get in their heads and try to figure them out. And Hazel, well, she is a trip! You learn about her childhood, her struggles, and discover what a truly admirable woman she is. If you like books that put you right into the lives of the characters, flaws and all, you'll love this one.

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