by Polly Horvath
summary from Amazon.com:
Jane, 12, longs for adventures, maybe a hundred of them. Not too much happens at the beach where she lives with her younger siblings and her mother, a poet with a fondness for putting up jam. As the summer slips by, adventures do find Jane—but they come with people attached. Her newfound relationship with preacher Nellie leads to a trip in a hot-air balloon and a foray into the world of healings and psychic revelations. Mrs. Parks’ thrombosis (or is it bursitis?) and a desire to get to California result in an all-night automobile ride that ends because Mrs. Parks’ bottom gets sore. And throughout the summer there’s a procession of possible fathers: the free spirit, the poet, the Santa look-alike, the man in a suit who gets tossed in the ocean by a whale. With writing as foamy as waves, as gritty as sand, or as deep as the sea, this book may startle readers with the freedom given the heroine—independence that allows her to experience, think about, and come to some hard-won conclusions about life. Sometimes Jane’s duped, sometimes she’s played; but if hope fades, it returns, and adventure still beckons. Unconventionality is Horvath’s stock in trade, but here the high quirkiness quotient rests easily against Jane’s inner story with its honest, childlike core.
This book was a bit too whimsical (or something) for me. A family of five living on the beach and just kind of making it through life. Twelve year old Jane has never before thought about who her father may or may not be, but as men start appearing she realizes they could be him. Jane's voice didn't sound anywhere near 12 (much older), so it was hard to remember she was young as she made some pretty stupid mistakes.
I thought the language of the story worked well and several times caused me to stop and think. A (brief) example:
"No one ever really understands a family but the people in it and even they each understand it differently." p68Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into the story.