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Paperback The Girl from Charnelle Book

ISBN: 0060829664

ISBN13: 9780060829667

The Girl from Charnelle

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

It's 1960 in the Panhandle town of Charnelle, Texas--a year and a half since sixteen-year-old Laura Tate's mother boarded a bus and mysteriously disappeared. Assuming responsibility for the Tate household, Laura cares for her father and three brothers and outwardly maintains a sense of calm. But her balance is upset and the repercussions of her family's struggles are revealed when a chance encounter with a married man leads Laura into a complicated...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


LOVED this book. I found it on a list of Willa Awards....When you decide to read this book, you'd better schedule some free time, because you will NOT want to put it down. I highly recommend it.

Beautifully Written, Captivating Story

K.L. Cook presents us with a highly crafted coming-of-age story about a young girl who steps too soon into adulthood when she begins an intimate affair with a friend of her father's. Cook is very talented at drawing us pictures with his words so that the reader can "see" each scene unfold before your eyes as he writes. A particularly moving scene for me told the story of a young dog who gets free just before she comes into her first heat, and comes home battered & pregnant. This frightening scene is the tipping point that drives action in the book, and seems to fortell the disaster that is to come. I thought about it for days after I read it. I highly recommend this fascinating book; a gripping read!


OK, you are a 16 year old girl living with her dad, mom, older brother, two younger brothers. Life is pretty decent. You go to school, have friends, love your family and then BAM from out of nowhere, your mom ups and leaves. No note, no goodbye, just packs a suitcase and walks out of your live FOREVER. Now you are a 16 year old girl living with your dad, older brother, and two younger brothers who pretty much has everything dumped in your lap. YOU are responsible for cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, taking care of your brothers, your school work, and the countless never-ending errands keeping a household throws at you. This is what happens to Laura. She is confused and mixed-up as to why her mom left. To top that, her older sister took off and eloped when she was only 17, leaving the family before their mom did. So, not only does Laura have to contend with the fact both her older sister and mom jumped ship, Laura has to maintain that ship. Laura handles things pretty well, combining all the household duties and school work very well. Then fate temps her and her life slowly goes out of control. Enter into her life her dad's co-worker and friend, John Letig. He kisses her secretly on New Year's Eve and makes a pass at her. Actually, taking advantage of her and her young age. Confused, lonely, excited and intrigued by the attention of a good-looking, older man, Laura enters into an affair with him. She is reluctant at first, but then thrives on the lies, deceits, and constant thrill of secrets. All the while, she is baby sitting for the Letig family, lying to her friends and family, and also lying to herself. While is feels she is in love with John, her conscience constantly nags at her, knowing what they are doing is wrong. The affair goes on and on and the author keeps you totally engrossed and interested. This book is narrated -- very, very well -- by Laura herself. From the first temptation of flirtation to the affair ending in tragedy, you will love every word of this book. The characters are real and well written. The Tate family is coping with their sister leaving to get married and their mom simply leaving them to fend for themselves. All of the characters ask WHY and their lives, along with their friends and family, all wind through and through each others. Laura, above all the others, doesn't have anyone to turn to in her times of need, but manages to figure life out for herself, even when life is not good or fair. This book is very well written and I highly recommend it. The author does a great job of describing life in the pan-handle of Texas in the 1960's and Laura's turbulent teen years. You will not be sorry you read this one! ENJOY!!!!!

Fantastic Book

This book was amazing! I started reading it before work on a Friday morning and got ten pages into it before having to stop. In only ten pages, I was already absorbed in the story and couldn't wait to get home from work to dive into the novel. One can't help but become attached to the characters in this book and go through withdrawal when it ends. I was trying to remember the last time I became so engrossed in a novel, and I think it was when I read The Kite Runner, shortly after it came out. Cook provides such believable insight into the main characters' lives that I think any reader of this book will not only fall in love with the these characters, but learn something about human nature and vulnerability.

Powerful debut novel

I thought this was an elegantly rendered family saga with taut prose and closely observed psychological insights.
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