By Melissa Pritchard
(Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780385721899, 256pp.)
Publication Date: June 10, 2003
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This wildly imaginative collection presents the misadventures of unlikely heroine Eleanor Stoddard as she tries to lead an exemplary life but finds that things just keep going awry. In the summer after sixth grade, she dreams of being as courageous as Anne Frank. As a teenager, her sudden devotion to Catholicism coincides with her crush on a nun. As a suburban housewife who suspects her husband of having an affair, she imitates Nancy Drew to try to solve her own personal mystery. And as a middle-aged woman, she embarks on a trek through Central America accompanied by a rescued laboratory gorilla. While Eleanor makes her way through a whirlwind of adventures with life and love in which she is constantly reinventing her identity and rethinking her priorities, she manages to become a first-rate student, a published poet, and a loyal mother. Each story offers a glimpse into her familiar and charmingly odd journey, and she comes hilariously to life in these disarming tales.