Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek

tomato-girlFor eleven-year-old Ellie Sanders, her father has always been the rock that she could cling to when her mother’s emotional troubles became too frightening. But when he comes under the thrall of the pretty teenager who raises vegetables and tomatoes for sale at the general store that he runs, Ellie sees her security slowly slipping away. Now she must be witness and warden to her mother’s gradual slide into madness.

I don’t think I can honestly do Tomato Girl justice, or put into words how much I love this novel. It’s an engaging story that had me reading into the wee hours of the morning as I was dying to know what happened to Ellie, her mother, her father, and the tomato girl, Tess.

“I follow Mama as she weaves her way between the vegetable stands. If I stay close enough, and keep my arms to my sides, maybe I can disappear behind the dark curtains of her coat. Like a girl on a stage, I pretend my life belongs to someone else. This is not my life, I whisper. But of course, I can’t even convince myself. This is the only life I know, this one that started when Daddy left. My old one is as far away as the stars. Maybe this new life is the real one and the life before only make believe.” (pg. 7)

I just loved this book – the intensity, the storyline, the characters, the writing. Ellie’s voice is perfectly formulated, and her character is so genuine. Her haunting story seems like something that could happen, something that does happen. An amazing debut novel, I could see Ellie’s world and feel her emotions because the writing is so vivid, so beautiful. It seams odd to say that something so dark can be beautiful, but it is.

Others’ Thoughts:

Book Mentioned:

  • Pupek, Jayne. Tomato Girl. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2008. Print. 298 pgs. ISBN: 1565124723. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Algonquin Books. Retrieved: November 28, 2011.


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