Friday, April 18, 2008
34. "Paper Moon" - Joe David Brown
As Addie, our 11-year-old narrator, would say, there are still pickin's in the South... particularly Depression-era South where Paper Moon takes place.
If you've seen the 1975 movie, be warned - you've only seen the first half of the book. This concerns me because it is the novel in its entirety that makes it so wonderfully overdone.
Addie and her possible father/dependable guardian, Long Boy, start with petty thieveries like confusing cute cashiers out of larger bills and meddling with widow's hearts by tricking them into buying the last gifts from their husbands. To love this book, one must love Addie, who has been compared to Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. She has the same spunk and sass, but she is no Scout.
Instead, she has a flair for funny similes and descriptions. And if you love Addie's character, it is easy to believe the later heists that she partakes in with Long Boy and a millionaire mentor named Major. It is a completely different take on the southern legends of cotton (they swindle the buyers) and geniality (they use it to fool many).
A unique historical novel? No. A cutesy Bonnie and Clyde? No. It's Addie Pray's story, and she tells one tall tale.
4.0 out of 5.0 Jelly Donuts.