Waltzing Through Flaws

Waltzing Through Flaws

3.88 (9 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
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Penny's mother Marguerite drinks too much and has a flair for melodrama that does not go down too well in upstate New York. But to Penny she also has a sense of fun that makes everything in life feel the way it should. So when Marguerite goes south in the summer of 1977 to 'dry out' in a Louisiana convent, Penny is alarmed to be left in the care of a high-minded Evangelical, Isabel Flood, especially as Isabel increasingly holds Penny's pretty older sister Mahalia in thrall. Penny may only be ten-years-old but her instinct as to who are the saints and who the sinners is never far from the truth. With wit, humanity and a bracing undercurrent of suspense, Paula Sharp captures a family embattled, rightly wary of who wants to recruit God on their side.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 26mm | 322.06g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 074755756X
  • 9780747557562

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Review quote

Placed during the summer of 1977 in Stein, a bleak prison town in upstate New York, this is a tale of growing up, teenage angst and the fine line drawn between evangelism and fanaticism. Widowed Marguerite Daigle is the mother of 15-year-old Mahalia and eight-year-old Penny, the former experiencing the rebelliousness of adolescence and the latter suffering wilfulness and additive-induced hyperactivity. Told retrospectively by a now adult Penny, but still through the eyes of an eight-year-old, it is the story of the summer the girls mother found she could no longer cope and sought solace in alcohol. Rescued by brother F.X. and her lover David, she is sent to dry out in a Louisiana convent leaving the girls in the hands of Isabel Flood, a local pamphleteering Evangelist. Penny observes her sister discovering religion as an escape from the embarrassing behaviour of their mother and her slow brainwashing as she is ensnared by Flood's ideologies. Aided by an 8 year olds ability to be overlooked, she watches and hears her sister's conversion at the local Evangelists Women's Meetings, and sees with a perception beyond her years the parental defiance that has triggered it. The key catalyst to all this is Isabel Flood, a fringe adherent to Stein Evangelical who spends her days missioning for pro-life. Her introduction into the Daigle household in Marguerite's absence causes Penny great distress at her new lack of freedom and elation in Mahalia who sees it as a triumph over her free-living mother that her idol has usurped her position. However, slowly but surely, Isabel's fanaticism becomes more obvious to Mahalia who eventually finds that she is as embarrassed by their association as she was with her mother's apposite lifestyle. The characters are warmly drawn and all have their own idiosyncracies to add to the story, most particularly Penny with the inherent naughtiness of an 8 year old child. Beautifully written, it is not a book to be hurried, more a leisurely journey through two children's lives during the scorching summer months of the late '70s. - Lucy Watson
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About Paula Sharp

Paula Sharp is the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller CROWS OVER A WHEATFIELD, and three previous novels, THE WOMAN WHO WAS NOT ALL THERE, THE IMPOSTER and LOST IN JERSEY CITY. A graduate of Columbia Law School, she lives in New York State.
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Rating details

9 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 33% (3)
4 22% (2)
3 44% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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