Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro. Published in 2010.
Synopsis: Lucy Fisher’s life is falling apart. Returning from a not-so-great vacation in Hawaii that used up most of her money, she finds that her fiancee has thrown her out of their house and changed the locks without any explanation. Returning to work the next day, she’s fired from her job for something she didn’t do, so she decides to move in with her sister in another part of the state and start afresh. Things are finally looking up for Lucy when she’s hit by a bus and tragically killed. She then finds herself in a class with other ‘Suprise Demisers,’ learning how to carry out a haunting mission she must complete in order to reach ‘The State’ of pure happiness.
About the Author: Laurie Notaro was born in New York, but grew up in Arizona, where this book is set. She has previously written seven other books, and is known for her humorous style of writing.
Becky’s Initial Reactions:
I am a sucker for marketing ploys, and I’ll admit this is why I chose this book selection. For several months, it’s glossy add covered the pages of BUST, one of my favorite magazines. How could I resist the bright-yellow book with the image of a spirit in a fashionable green dress with red shoes? I knew nothing about the author, but as I was looking for variety in book club selection, this seemed to fit in nicely.
When I first started reading, I didn’t like the book at first. I found Lucy to be a bit too pathetic, and was upset that she didn’t show enough emotion when bad things happened to her. However, after she dies is when the book takes a fun turn. Although I would describe the book as a ‘light’ read, Notaro did a creative job of creating the dead world. There’s some pretty clever stuff in there, such as being able to order a haunting costume from a mail-order catalog if you didn’t like the clothes you died in, what the ‘white light’ is really all about, and the joys (and frustrations) of attending our own funeral. The characters were likeable (except for Nola, but you have to have one character you totally despise), you care what happens to them, and Notaro did a great job of building tension during the exorcism/Lucy’s friends coming to their own realization chapter.
Interestingly, as this book is about death, I didn’t really find it sad at all. It was almost a relief when Lucy died, as her life was headed in such a down-ward spiral. For me, I thought the saddest part of the book was when the dog died.
For those of you who’ve read this book, what did you think? Did you love it/hate it/think it was entertaining? Would you read another book by this author?
Next Up : The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a collection of inter-related short stories by this young Nigerian writer. Discussion begins August 26th, 2010.