Dear Great Book Guru, We just came back from a great Juneteenth celebration at the Children’s Library. Families enjoyed stories, music, a craft, and a parade on a beautiful afternoon. Now I have the rest of this holiday weekend to get into a good book. A novel set in the present and not too long, please. Juneteenth Celebrant
Dear Juneteenth Celebrant, I just finished Tom Perrotta’s latest novel, TRACY FLICK CAN’T WIN, and I loved it! Tracy is a forty-one year-old assistant principal in a suburban high school and she is vying to take over for the retiring principal, Jack Weed. In alternating chapters, we hear from ten characters - all of whom are part of this school saga. Kyle Dorfman is a wealthy former tech developer and now school board president with ambitious to make his mark by creating a Hall of Fame for the high school. He is intent on having Vito Falcone – a retired football player and recovering alcoholic – as the first honoree. Principal Weed has been having an affair with the school secretary Front Desk Doris who he nominates as the other Hall of Famer. Doris gives her version of the relationship, quite different from Weed’s. Students Lily Chu and Nate Cleary tell their stories of teenage angst while we learn the back story of Tracy and her derailed ambitions going back to her teenage years. Questions of power, politics, and memory are addressed with a dramatic conclusion. Highly recommended!