July 4, 2009
The Key to the Golden Firebird
When Mike Gold has a heart attack and dies in his 1967 Firebird, the car sits in the family garage untouched for a year. May, Brooks, and Palmer Gold--all teenage girls in what May calls the "Tall, Blond, and Wonderful Family"--suffer from neglect as well when their mother goes to work overtime at the hospital to pay the bills. The three girls deal with their father's death in different ways: Brooks quits softball and starts drinking, Palmer ferociously focuses on pitching and TV, hiding her panic attacks from everyone, and May tries to keep the family together. As the family unravels, the Firebird endures. Palmer uses the back seat as a place to escape, Brooks takes it out for a spin when she's drunk (and gets arrested), and for the grand finale, the three girls take the battleship-sized car to Camden Yards to throw their father's ashes on the pitcher's mound. Fortunately, this is the act that allows the girls to start anew, like the phoenix rising.
This is an old book but I never got around to reading it before. Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite authors because all of her books a really funny. This book was no exception even though it had a sadder theme than most of her other books it was still hilarious! May and her sisters all have different personalities so it was fun to see their transformations through different eyes not just one. This story had a good plot and good characters. The only problem to me was that all three girls in my opinion grieved in almost the same way and I wish they had grieved even more differently so there would be more of a contrast.
Also it was released with a new cover which is more like the rest of Maureen's covers which do you like better? (I like the old one it is more original.)