From the start of Elizabeth McKenzie’s beguiling fiction debut, we are drawn into the offbeat worldview of sharp-eyed, intrepid Ann Ransom. Stop That Girl chronicles Ann’s colorful coming-of-age travails, from her childhood in a disjointed family through her tender adolescence and beyond. Along the way, she discovers the absurdities that lurk around every corner of a young woman’s life, by way of oafish neighbors, overzealous boyfriends, prurient vegetable salesmen, sour landlords, and an iconoclast grandmother, known even to her family as Dr. Frost.
Keenly funny and highly original, Stop That Girl is a brilliant examination of the exigencies of love and the fragile fabric of family, and heralds the emergence of a remarkable new voice in fiction.
Elizabeth McKenzie has written one of those rare books that seems to capture adolescence like a photograph.
Stop that Girl gets it all right; outsized action that rings true, gnarled family relationships that are at once damaging and fortifying, and emotional showdowns both ridiculous and cathartic.
Ann Ransom, the narrator, is a classic child heroine. Brave, sarcastic, and just a bit precocious. She's driven to please her family members even when those around her have competing demands and takes on the role of confidant and caregiver from an early age.
Like anyone who's found themselves in this situation, she does her best to cope, but it's not always what the adult world would expect-- Running off with her new baby sister in a crowded airport to get away from the arguing adults, for example.
Ann's family moves around throughout her life looking for a place where they feel they belong, and California becomes an unstated character in the book. The oil fields, the swimming pools and cul-de-sacs. I felt the presence of my home sate in every line.
I know narrator Elizabeth Evans from "Mermaids" and "Jesus Land." She does such a nice job with adolescent heroines. She gives them tenderness and an iron core.
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A disjointed story that wanders aimlessly with none of its parts connected to any extent. Characters are introduced and few are developed to any extent. Those that are are not believable. I listened to the end hoping for a recovery but none turned up. About as much pleasure as banking your head against the wall.