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Stop That Girl: Fiction by Elizabeth…
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Stop That Girl: Fiction

by Elizabeth McKenzie

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Linked stories featuring the strange life and times of Ann Ransom, from 1960, when she's eight and her mom remarries and buys the first of what seems like 3,700 houses and her grandmother takes her to Europe while pursuing a paramour. Further along, during college, the same grandmother forces Ann's roommate to run her off the road into a ditch while Ann's in the middle of interviewing poet Allan Ginsberg. Ann has fabulous adventures, and she and everyone around her makes really dumb decisions, including breaking into Bob Dylan's Malibu beach house and stealing a hose nozzle, to which she reacts scathingly. It's a diary of absurdity and a big fun read with scattered giant insights like: "It was hard for me to roar and jostle with a roomful of people for more than an hour or two. A strange thing would happen. I'd suddenly feel like I was pretending to have fun even if I was really having fun; then I'd start looking around and wondering the same about everyone else, and it would wreck everything." ( )
  froxgirl | Feb 7, 2016 |
I have to give this a 2 bc I don't actually remember much of this. I wrote in my journal that it's an easy read, pretty good. Looks like I was busy then, so I don't have any details. ( )
  jjsreads | Apr 7, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812972287, Paperback)

Elizabeth McKenzie's Stop That Girl is a series of chronological stories that, taken together, uncover the life story of Ann Ransom, a native Californian who moves from childhood to adulthood with poise, intelligence, and humor. When we first meet Ann in the collection's title story, she is a spunky eight year old living with her mom in Long Beach. Featured characters include Ann's mom, her grandmother Dr. Frost, her sister Kathy, and three or four of her romantic interests. The state of California itself serves as an important supporting character, helping to keep Ann rooted in time and space as she moves through each chapter of her life.

While each story is unique in its own right, McKenzie's lyrical style makes it easy to string each episode together to form the consistent thread of Ann's life. In one of the early stories, ten-year-old Ann attends a neighborhood party on her own, apologizing to the host for her parents's absence while attempting to fulfill the family's social obligations with the grace of someone well beyond her years. ("I make it my business to look as enterprising ad possible, a team player, someone you can count on, someone who never lets you down...") As she gets older, Ann continues to play the role of "normal one" in a family of eccentric personalities, while simultaneously attempting to forge her own identity as a young woman. In one climatic story, Ann's grandmother pays her a visit at UC Santa Cruz on the same day as a monumental appearance by Allen Ginsberg. What follows is a car chase that culminates in a showdown between Ann, her boyfriend, and her grandmother that perfectly illustrates the push-pull dynamic which seems to define Ann's life.

For Ann, each step forward brings with it a reminder of a past that she doesn't necessarily want to forget. It is this haunting inability to escape her past, to in fact embrace her past in order to move on, that make Ann such an endearing character and her creator such a gifted storyteller. --Gisele Toueg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:14 -0400)

"From the first story of Elizabeth McKenzie's beguiling debut collection, 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. In the title story, our eight-year-old heroine is sent by her pregnant mother on a whirlwind jaunt to Europe with her iconoclast grandmother -- known even to her family as Dr. Frost -- and comes home to find her family completely reconfigured. In "SOS," Dr. Frost returns to haunt Ann in college, her visit colliding with a famous poet's appearance on campus. "We Know Where We Are, But Not Why" is set during a summer at the Grand Canyon and contrasts Ann's angst-ridden yearning for a philosophical schoolmate back home to her mother's happier pursuits of a lively Australian activist. Along the way, Ann discovers the absurdities that lurk around every corner of a young woman's life, by way of oafish neighbors, overzealous boyfriends, prurient vegetable salesmen, and sour landlords."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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