Tomato Girl is a heartbreaking novel of love, desire, and madness.
Ellie is in love with her father Rupert and just adores him. She loves spending time with him — especially when she can help him in the store he manages. Not only does Ellie’s father takes care of her when her mother is unable to, he also manages and cares for Ellie’s mother when she is in one of her ‘moods.’
Although Rupert loves his daughter dearly, he is also falling in love with the girl who brings in the tomatoes at his store. This has severe repercussions for everyone involved, not only leaving poor Ellie caught in the middle but also worsening her mother’s mental condition.
Pupek manages to make us sympathize with all the characters involved and thankfully, also provides other characters for Ellie to lean on in a difficult situation. Her best friend Mary, a concerned teacher, and a loving black couple all do their best to support Ellie. Tomato Girl really makes one realize there are consequences to every personal decision, and that all our choices will affect our family members as well.
While I liked the book, there is a magical element to the book at the end that I didn’t care for, and I sometimes felt Ellie’s voice was too old for 11, and sometimes I thought she seemed too young for that age. These are minor criticisms, though, and Jayne Pupek is certainly a promising new novelist.
CLOSED If you’d like a copy of this book, just go to Novels Now, where I am giving away an autographed copy. All I ask is that you haven’t read the book yet, and that you’ll make an effort to read and review it on your blog in the next 6 months.
2008, 298 pp.