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The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen…

The Loud Silence of Francine Green (2006)

by Karen Cushman

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2771840,824 (3.71)7
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Somewhat considered historical fiction because of it's references to certain 1950's/60's characteristics. Could still be applicable to modern readers / realistic fiction. ( )
  MsBigfoot | Mar 19, 2016 |
I found myself not very impressed with this one. I found the main character development slow at the start and rushed at the end. I also felt like there were some points which were not believable for me, or didn't match. For example, a 13 year old so fascinated with Hollywood, actors, movies, and constantly reading star magazines to not have a clue about McCarthy's hunt for communists seemed quite odd. Another example is that this girl has been myopic for most of the book and suddenly wants to talk to a high figure about the disturbing scenario of "girls in saddle shoes" wanting to pick up signs espousing violence, which seemed a bit of a stretch. It felt like she was much more likely to not understand the dichotomy. Three stars because I was interested enough to finish, but not recommending and don't want to own. ( )
  MahanaU | Feb 26, 2016 |
Narrated by Anaka Shockley. I kept drifting off listening to the audio version and had to backtrack quite a bit. I plan to revisit in the print edition.

13-year-old Francine lives in Los Angeles, home of Hollywood movies and glamour. She’s an expert on the movie stars including Montgomery Clift and she attends a Catholic all-girls’ school. There she meets Sophie Bowman who has transferred to her class, having been kicked out of her previous school. Sophie is outspoken and passionate and her provocative views on free speech, Communism and the bomb stir up trouble with the nuns. Francine is more accustomed to “not getting involved” as her father advises, but being with Sophie challenges some of her long-held beliefs about the ways of the world.
( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This story is set in the 1950's around the time of the cold war. It is about a girl Francine, who is described as plain, finding out who she is and that she has a voice. Through her friend Sophie, she is able to find an equal balance of having a voice, and also maintaining a good composure. I really enjoyed reading this story, and remembering the hard times of the awkward period where your stuck between a child and an adult. I also really liked how they were able to incorporate the history of the cold war and really show how it affected children at that age, what they were hearing about it, and how it made them feel. Great book!
  RiaO | Sep 19, 2013 |
Original review at The Little Bookworm

Francine lives in America in 1949/1950 at the beginning of the Cold Ward when everyone was fearful of Communists and bombs and Senator McCarthy was beginning his inquiries. She is a quiet girl who wants nothing more than to stay out of trouble. She cannot even write a big part for herself in the screenplay in her head. But when Francine meets the irrepressible Sophie, things begin to change for Francine and she begins to think outside of her own neighborhood and into the world beyond.

It was different from what I expected. I thought it was going to be about a girl who likes movie stars and is quiet and silly and that's about it. But I was wrong. I mean, Francine does like movie stars and is quiet, but she is worrying about big issues like the H-bomb and Communisim and none of the adults will listen to her or talk to her about the state of the world. I guess, in the 1950's, children and especially girls weren't taken seriously and were expected to be quiet and accept things the way they are, to stand still and look pretty so to speak. Francine makes friends with Sophie, who doesn't accept the status quo and asks a lot of questions and gets in trouble a lot. Sophie makes Francine think about what is going on in the world.

It was interesting to see this era through the eyes of a girl. It was funny how they thought if you ducked under a desk, then you'd be okay in the event of a nuclear blast. And how radioactivity wasn't really that dangerous. There was also a small view of the damage that Senator McCarthy did with his inquiries. Sophie's father is a screenwriter and he and his friends fall under scrutiny. The fallout was so sad. The ending made me sad, but it was well worth the read. ( )
  thelittlebookworm | Sep 8, 2009 |
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Sooner or later one has to take sides if one is to remain human.
--Graham Greene, The Quiet American
For Nathan Adler, Lou Solomon, Philip Cushman,
and Trina Schart Hyman
for their courage and their example
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"Holy cow!" I said when Sophie Bowman told me she'd be joining All Saints School for Girls this year.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618504559, Hardcover)

Francine Green doesn’t speak up much, and who can blame her? Her parents aren’t interested in her opinions, the nuns at school punish girls who ask too many questions, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities is blacklisting people who express unpopular ideas. There’s safety in silence. Francine would rather lose herself in a book, or in daydreams about her favorite Hollywood stars, than risk attracting attention or getting in trouble.

But when outspoken, passionate Sophie Bowman transfers into Francine’s class at All Saints School for Girls, Francine finds herself thinking about things that never concerned her before—free speech, the atom bomb, the existence of God, the way people treat each other. Eventually, Francine discovers that she not only has something to say, she is absolutely determined to say it.

Once again, Karen Cushman follows a young woman’s progress toward her true self, this time exploring the nature of friendship and the experience of growing up Catholic in an era that is both fascinating and relevant to today’s young people. Author’s note.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In 1949, thirteen-year-old Francine goes to Catholic school in Los Angeles where she becomes best friends with a girl who questions authority and is frequently punished by the nuns, causing Francine to question her own values.

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