Sunday, June 26, 2016

Book Review: Savannah from Savannah

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Savannah from Savannah 

Author: Denise Hildreth

Author's "ministry" page:

Date: 2004

Publisher: Westbow / Thomas Nelson

ISBN: 0-8499-4455-4

Length: 324 pages

Quote: "I'm here at the University of Georgia, and for the last six years, I've consumed every article Gloria Richardson has written...I know her death has left a tremendous void at the Chronicle. I also know that no one will ever totally fill the place that she has left, but I believe I am capable of carrying on her vision..."

So we know the heroine of this novel is fresh out of school, and yes, her mother has named her after her home town, and yes, she plans to live there. What's harder to believe is that this preposterous approach gets her the job of her dreams. Savannah herself doesn't believe she would have been hired to write a newspaper column if her socially ambitious mother hadn't pulled strings. I'm not sure I do, either, especially after reading Savannah's writing samples. Well, it's a young adult novel; Savannah has that combination of sophisticated manners and profound ignorance in common with the earlier-vintage protagonist of Eloise Jarvis McGraw's Greensleeves. (This web site called for a reprint, and what d'you know, a reprint is available!) Except that Savannah mentions being a Christian more or less daily.

For her journalistic debut, Savannah decides to write a human interest series about how a beauty pageant, which may have been rigged, ruined the life of a slightly older schoolmate who Savannah thought deserved to win. The story of how Savannah writes that story turns into a great big pep talk about how adversity ruins people's lives only if they let it, which is a comforting thought for some people, no doubt, but leads us off the topic of how Christians should deal with rigged beauty pageants, with frauds and scams in general, or even with beauty pageants in general.

Is it funny? Sort least if you're old enough to relate to Savannah as a student/daughter figure rather than an alter ego figure. I have to admit I was laughing at Savannah more than with her. She, herself, doesn't have much sense of humor, but then again neither is she as humorless as some honest-but-naive narrators in novels where the narrator's humorlessness is part of what readers laugh at.

Family-friendly? It's so family-friendly that, if there'd been a picture of Savannah on the cover, I would probably have dressed a doll to match it. Six-year-olds may find a novel about work boring; very sophisticated ten- or twelve-year-olds might enjoy a novel about a twenty-something who's enjoying a grown-up life uncluttered by romance..

Well, the trilogy has been published. You can buy all three volumes together, or volumes one and two together, if you prefer. What I physically own, and have for sale, is volume one (as shown above). To buy it here costs $5 per book + $5 per package, for a total of $10, of which $1 will be sent to Hildreth or a charity of her choice (no points for guessing). Although at the time of writing I've not read volumes two and three myself, as an Amazon Affiliate I can certainly get them, and add them to your package for a total of $20, of which Hildreth will get $3.