Through No Fault of My Own: A Girl's Diary of Life on Summit Avenue in the Jazz Age (Paperback)

A Girl's Diary of Life on Summit Avenue in the Jazz Age

By Coco Irvine, Peg Meier (Introduction by)

University of Minnesota Press, 9780816673063, 84pp.

Publication Date: March 30, 2011



On Christmas Day, 1926, twelve-year-old Clotilde "Coco" Irvine received a blank diary as a present. Coco loved to write--and to get into scrapes--and her new diary gave her the opportunity to explain her side of the messes she created: "I'm in deep trouble through no fault of my own," her entries frequently began. The daughter of a lumber baron, Coco grew up in a twenty-room mansion on fashionable Summit Avenue at the peak of the Jazz Age, a time when music, art, and women's social status were all in a state of flux and the economy was still flying high.
Coco's diary carefully records her adventures, problems, and romances, written with a lively wit and a droll sense of humor. Whether sneaking out to a dance hall in her mother's clothes or getting in trouble for telling an off-color joke, Coco and her escapades will captivate and delight preteen readers as well as their mothers and grandmothers.
Peg Meier's introduction describes St. Paul life in the 1920s and provides context for the privileged world that Coco inhabits, while an afterword tells what happens to Coco as an adult--and reveals surprises about some of the other characters in the diary.

About the Author

A lumber baron's daughter, Coco Irvine Moles (1914-1975) grew up on St. Paul's prestigious Summit Avenue. She and her sister Olivia Irvine Dodge donated their family home to the state of Minnesota in 1965, and since 1966 it has served as the governor's residence. Peg Meier was a reporter at the Star Tribune for thirty-five years. She is the author of many popular books, including Wishing for a Snow Day, Bring Warm Clothes, and Too Hot, Went to Lake.

Praise For Through No Fault of My Own: A Girl's Diary of Life on Summit Avenue in the Jazz Age

"The glimpses of Coco's privileged life in the Roaring 20s are intriguing and humorous, but what makes this account so appealing is the clear evocation of what it is to be 13—impatient to be grown up yet still childlike in many ways. Coco's innocence will make today's readers smile. Her newfound interest in boys, especially one she calls "He," who might or might not like her, will resonate with middle-school girls. Peg Meier's introduction explains the story's provenance and provides some context; her conclusion summarizes the rest of Coco's life. Give this actual diary to readers who have enjoyed books in the Dear America series." —Kirkus Reviews

"This charming little reproduction of the year she recorded will resonate with contemporary teens and readers who remember the Irvine sisters." —St. Paul Pioneer Press

"An unrepentant attention-seeker, Coco gets into frequent trouble at home and at school, but her exuberance, defiance, and sweetness will win over readers from her first entry. This effervescent journal demonstrates Irvine’s early, intense enthusiasm for writing and independent thought, as well as her unmistakable talent. Photos of Coco and an afterword about her (fairly tragic) adult life round out an otherwise blithe glimpse into the past." —Publishers Weekly

"The diary is concise and consistently charming, often unintentionally so, and definitely worth a read. If Coco hadn’t really existed, nobody would believe someone this exuberant and madcap could be real. Readers who like strong characters with an unforgettable voice and a unique view on life will find Coco’s Jazz age adventures deeply satisfying." —Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune