Sandy Drue views life from a true writer’s perspective: she notices details

And she’s equally great at putting what she notices into words. I fell in love with Mailbox right at the beginning of the book. Sandy is a pre-pubescent tween, but she feels uncomfortable when a grown-up man at the house where she’s playing, wants to take pictures of the girls running through the sprinkler naked. And she tells us from a child’s perspective how she is not EXACTLY sure why, but she just knows it’s wrong.

She also observes that her dad telling her mom she’s the most beautiful women in the world is probably only in his eyes – but she loves that he tells her just the same.

And when she describes cows: “When they look at you, it’s like they always want good things for you”, I decided that this book had stolen my heart and was a true literary masterpiece, right up there with The Fault in Our Stars (my other favourite book I’ve read this year).

The story

It’s 1976. The USA turns 200, while scrappy agnostic Sandy Drue turns ten, ?nds an electric typewriter in her father’s o?ice and begins to churn out page after page on the con?icting demands of burgeoning adolescence and her own quiet search for the meaning of life.

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Sandy’s friends are learning about menstruation and reading Judy Blume – some in secret, against their mothers’ warnings. The Drue family moves from New York to Small Town, USA where Sandy and her brother try to ?nd friends, avoid bullies, and settle in.

While Sandy slowly realises that her family may never fully ?t in, she ?nds that writing helps her to understand her own mind and ease her push-pull entry into adulthood.

Caught in the middle of this social unrest, between chaos and calm, and the uneasy balance between childhood and adulthood, a now 13-year-old Sandy is ready to write her book, aiming to answer the biggest question she faces: whether there’s anyone bigger in
charge…

Her parents encourage her curiosity, her imagination, and her challenge of social conventions, but not without cost. Her New Yorker mother, an artist and intellectual, ?nds Bible-belt conservatism – and cows, horses and guns – an uneasy ?t.

Sandy’s father grapples with ?nancial worries as his wholesaling business battles the huge discounters bringing in cheap foreign goods, destroying the local, multi-generation stores.

Caught in the middle of this social unrest, between chaos and calm, and the uneasy balance between childhood and adulthood, a now 13-year-old Sandy is ready to write her book, aiming to answer the biggest question she faces: whether there’s anyone bigger in charge…

Described as “A perfect read for young ladies from 12 to 112”

A delightful story that is hopeful, heartbreaking and profound in its treatment of life’s larger questions – especially those that matter to a child on the cusp of maturity – revealing our shared need for solace, nostalgia and good old-fashioned fun.

Order your copy from Amazon here 

About the author

American-born novelist, poet and editor Nancy Freund lives in Lausanne, Switzerland. Raised in
Kansas City, she met her future husband, who hails from Bristol, England, when he became her pen-friend at the tender age of ?fteen. Freund has a BA in English and Creative Writing and a Masters from UCLA. and is active in community literacy.