Nora, Nora

Title: Nora, Nora
Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 978-0-0-6187492-5
Pages: 449
Year: 2000

Twentieth century Lytton, Georgia. After her mother and brother died, Peyton McKenzie, a twelve-year-old shy girl, was just sort of there. Her father didn´t give her much time, rather worked long days. Her aunt constantly wants to change Peyton in a prim and proper schoolgirl with fancy clothes and hair. And the two together always talked about her like she wasn´t there in the room with them. That´s till her other aunt Nora came into her life as a whirlwind in a flamingo pink car. She was something Peyton had never seen. Walking around town in short tops and tight skirts. Nora does what she wants and she stands up for her niece Peyton. It isn´t extravagant to say that Nora quite upsets the quiet town of Lytton with her brazy lifestyle.

´Nora, Nora´ is about a young girl growing up in a southern town amidst segregation and the oppression of women.
Before reading I had high expectations of this book: the author being a bestselling novelist and the cover being so very pretty, but we all know not to judge a book by these factors.

After actually reading it, I thought this book was so-so. I didn’t really like the first hundred pages, as a matter of fact I wanted to stop reading several times.
The first hundred pages describe Peyton’s live before Nora is in it. Peyton is a strange girl, a bit of a loner without a real social life. It is aggravating to read about her powerlessness against her father’s and aunt’s behaviour, but because I thought the reader was supposed to feel like this I let it slide and read on.
The next part was more enjoyable with Nora finally entering the story. She was a breath of fresh air in this dull town (these pages), but sometimes her character was simply too much to comprehend.
The ending was something not quite to my taste as well. It seemed like it had three different endings. It should have stopped when everyone was happy (personal opinion), but then Siddons had to write some more and altered the previous ending and this happened again twice.
Now I did like the townspeople changing their view on black people, because of that the line between the two races got a bit blurred. Next to that I liked Peyton acting more like her age and not like a depressed child. There were even two times I was quite shocked about something that had happened and I also have to say that Siddons can write well, if only the story was better.

I thought ‘Nora, Nora’ was something to read, nothing more and nothing less.

Dutch translation of this novel: Vuurvlieg published by Het Spectrum


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