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by Martha Brooks




An ALA Best Book

On the run after taking her boyfriend's truck, with a pocketful of money and a heart full of pain, seventeen-year-old Noreen Stall seems to invite trouble. And trouble comes soon enough as Noreen's new mistakes trigger calamities that shake the lives of the residents of Pembina Lake.

(AR) For ages 12 and up.

Download True Confessions Of A Heartless Girl epub
ISBN: 0786261005
ISBN13: 978-0786261000
Category: Children
Author: Martha Brooks
Language: English
Publisher: Thorndike Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2003)
Pages: 261 pages
ePUB size: 1968 kb
FB2 size: 1716 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 825
Other Formats: lit doc mbr txt

Fearlesssinger
A little over two years ago I came across this book. At the time I thought it had been published just recently, but I realized later it was originally published in Canada in 2002 and then a little over a year later in the U.S. I can't even remember now how I first heard about TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HEARTLESS GIRL. But I remember that the fact that it was set in Canada and written by a Canadian was part of the draw. That and the intriguing storyline. I'm mystified as to why we seem to rarely get wind of some of these gems from our northern neighbors. HEARTLESS GIRL was the winner of the 2002 Governor General's Literary Award and if this is any indication of the quality of the winners of that award, I will be paying attention to future winners and nominations. None of our local bookstores had it in, but my library did (bless them) so I picked it up on my way home from work and read it later that night as my husband snored gently beside me. One thing is for sure--I fell irretrievably into Martha Brooks' clear, evocative prose.

Set in present-day Manitoba, the story follows self-proclaimed heartless girl Noreen. World-weary at 17, pregnant and on the run from her boyfriend Wesley (the first kind boy she's ever been with), Noreen steals his truck and his cash and winds up broke and alone in a small farming town not far from Brandon. Against her better judgement, Lynda (the operator of the local cafe) takes Noreen in and gives her a job. And thus she unwittingly unleashes a storm the likes of which the denizens of this small town have never seen. Each of them carry their own burdens. Lynda herself has escaped an abusive relationship and is raising her three-year-old son Seth on her own, while managing to run the cafe. Dolores Harper, the local wise woman, shows up sporting her "Meddling for Jesus" sweatshirt, ready to help the new girl open up. And Del Armstrong, the resident middle-aged bachelor, does his best to help Noreen, all the while unable to forgive himself for the tragedy that occurred the year he was her age. But will any of them be able to see beyond their own personal issues to save each other from their demons?

TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HEARTLESS GIRL ought to be swallowed in one satisfying session, I think. The writing is spare but weighty. Brooks' words leave a mark on you long after your eyes move past them on the page. We get the story from the perspective of Noreen, Wesley, and several of the inhabitants of Pembina Lake--the small town of Noreen finds herself unable to leave. I loved the characters with their strengths and weaknesses, all of them prominently on display. Noreen isunbearably heartless at times. She is also sensitive and imaginative and capable of love. But where she walks, trouble follows. Everyone she comes into contact with meets with disaster as some point in the tale. But somehow they're unable to just wash their hands of this girl and let her go. Despite their own numerous personal issues, the people there take her in, feed her, give her work, and just try (sometimes against all reason) to help this girl whose life has been seemingly cursed since the day she was born. And then there's Wesley. The Cree construction worker with a sky full of stars and careful hands. I liked that he didn't let Noreen trample him underfoot. I liked that he yelled and stomped and left when he should. I get tired sometimes of the Tireless Good Guy. The one who's always there and comes back even when she doesn't deserve him. On the contrary, these two find their way back to each other only when their eyes can see clearly again. When Noreen learns how to stay still and not run. The vastness of the prairie is in this slim novel. It is exquisite and I love it.
Xellerlu
As I read this book in one sitting, I couldn't help think that this seemed to be more of an adult book than any of Martha Brooks other novels. Perhaps it was the many adults that surrounded the main character. In most young adult books the teenaged main character is surrounded by her peers, but in this book, it is mostly adults who help her to reveal her pain and to make a new life. Rather than be on the sidelines, the adults are front and center and we learn about their own sometimes unhappy lives.This is a good book for teenagers and their parents to share. A quick read with substance.

Try Martha Brooks' other books as well.
RED
The title of this book is a tad bit intimidating, but once you read the first couple pages you are sucked into the story until the end and then you want more once you are done.
Samulkree
When you are a teenager, sometimes the world seems dark, unbearably centered around and focused on you. Martha Brooks returns us to those feelings of trauma and tragedy in True Confessions of a Heartless Girl.

This is a story ostensibly about 17-year-old Noreen and her attempts to find her place in the world. Awkward in the way every teenage girl is, Noreen tumbles from one disaster of her making to another. Profoundly clueless about her own heart because of a mildly-abused and semi-abandoned childhood, Noreen is unable to recognize love and caring when she does encounter it. When she drives into the tiny Manitoban town of Pembina Lake in her ex-boyfriend's stolen truck she is shattered, exhausted and possibly pregnant.

We see the town clearly, even though Noreen does not at first. Lynda, the struggling single mother who owns the town's failing cafe, takes Noreen under her wing. Dolores, grandmother to the entire town, who proudly wears a shirt that says MEDDLER FOR JESUS, feeds her mint tea and some hard advice. Del, who works endlessly on a cottage in which no one lives, offers her the cottage and a chance for redemption in return for a "full accounting". Mary, Dolores' life-long friend, suddenly grown snappish and hurtful; Seth, Lynda's 5-year-old son; even Tessie the dog, all have their own problems. Noreen perceives herself as the cause of all this trouble.

Yet gradually, as Noreen begins to mature under the guidance of so many helpful strangers, we learn that troubles come to all of us, that thirty-year-old heartaches are just as deep as those we feel at 17, and can seem just as unsolvable to those involved. Brooks brings us to the edge of that cold lake of frightened adolescence that still lives in each of us. "What if she says no and laughs?", "What if he doesn't love me after all?"

Then she tosses us in, and laughs at our affronted pride.

This is not a novel about a girl in trouble. It's a story about the ordinary, everyday troubles that we all have, and the way that sharing diminishes them. It's about love in all its manifold dimensions. And it's about the redemption that can come to any of us from making a true confession and rendering a full accounting.

I recommend it for readers of any age.