By Lesley Kagen
Precocious eleven-year-old Tessie Finley is the narrator of this heartwarming novel. In addition to her endless lists, she organizes The Mutual Admiration Society. Tessie believes she has witnessed a crime in her local cemetery. With the help of her trustworthy friend, Charlie, and her little sister Birdie, she intends to solve it.
Tessie narrates her story with a straightforward, no-nonsense, wise and witty voice. She does her very best to make sense of the world around her. And, she has a whole lot on her plate. Tessie is dealing with the sudden, tragic death of her father, an emotionally inaccessible mother, judgmental neighbors, and Birdie’s special needs. Yet, Tessie does it all with a very spirited, loving heart.
Author Lesley Kagen has also done it again. She has created a story that is both entertaining and heartwarming. Her attention to time and place is accurate and relevant. Tessie’s world of 1950s Milwaukee took me back to my similar childhood in Chicago. Sometimes, I felt I knew Tessie, other times I felt I was her! I could relate to her way of thinking, her determination, and her world.
As always, Lesley Kagen has created a story filled with characters you can care about. She understands and preserves the innocence of childhood. She respects the trust found in a child’s heart, sharing it in the natural way a child does.
Lesley Kagen is a very special author. She never disappoints. I have read each of her books and loved them all. If you have not read her books, you should. You are missing out on some very special reading.