I Remember Valentine
by Liz Hamlin (9781418497941)

I Remember Valentine
Liz Hamlin
Release Date: 01 February 2005
Format: Paperback
Pages: 264
Category: Family & Relationships
ISBN: 9781418497941
ISBN-10: 1418497940

When the Great Depression of the 1930's forces the narrator's family to give up their conventional home in a respectable neighborhood and move to a flat on the wrong side of the tracks, for her parents it is a shameful descent into a temporary Hell; for their eleven-year-old daughter, the fall from financial grace drops her into a fascinating place where the Hart family, who rent the other half of the flat, speak candidly about life, love, and sex. The narrator immediately becomes Best Friends with Valentine Hart. The girls are drawn together by a mysterious magnet which they neither question nor doubt. Other than for being the same age and approaching the tremulous threshold between childhood and adolescence, their only common denominator is their love for the movies and their tendency to endow real life with the shining aura that the silver screen gives their romanced-drenched souls. The narrator's mother takes a dim view of the entire Hart family, and repeatedly cautions her not to get too close to them. She may as well have been speaking to the wind. The narrator is delighted when her mother decides it is her duty to use her skill in writing Gregg shorthand to fatten the family coffers and goes to work for a lawyer. With her mother absent all day, the narrator is free to experience the forbidden pleasure of living on the wild side of life. Lacey (Valentine's lively, lusty, beautiful mother) divides society into three categories: "People Just Like Us,"; those who" Wouldn't Say Shit If They Had A Mouthful,"; and the "High-Muckety-Mucks." The narrator is honored to be accepted by the Harts as "People Just Like Us," who along with Lacey include Big Hart whose tough workdays are softenedin Lacey's loving arms; Valentine's twin brother, Black, who will commit any sin but never tell a lie, a boy with a tender side which only the narrator discovers when he teaches her about sex in an alleyway; and little Broken, whose twisted body and mixed-up brain is a result of Lacey's foiled attempt to abort him. To the narrator, the difference between her respectable old world and her exciting new one can be summed up quite simply: she had moved out of the world of breasts and into the world of tits. As summer rolls around, Lacey forces Valentine to add to the family's small income by working for a family of former "High Muckety-Mucks," the Greys of Sycamore Lane. Mr. Grey is a handsome, charming man whose angry, bitter wife works in the five-and-dime. While Valentine baby-sits their young son, she and the narrator become aware of Mr. Grey's love affair with his child-like adoring young neighbor whose alcoholic long-distance truck driver beats her when he is home. The two young girls endow the forbidden love with the magical aura they view in their frequent visits to the local movie theatre. In their fierce loyalty and misconception of adult passion, they are blinded to the truth until, too late; they witness the reality of love and hate, betrayal and death, and become innocent co-conspirators in a terrible crime which will haunt them forever.

AUD $26.95

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