The Wonder Spot is a story of a woman and her journey to find her place and meaning in the world. Specifically it is the story of Sophie Applebaum, a Jewish girl from Pennsylvania, and her trials and triumphs that mark her life as she makes that metaphysical journey. We see her life through episodes, starting when she is in the seventh grade and a rebellious young girl preparing for her bat mitzvah, to her life in college with her improbably beautiful and captivating roommate, and beyond. Her life is like many others, there are bad decisions, bad relationships, moments of bliss and moments of true tragedy. The most dramatic moments happen in between episodes, Melissa Bank choosing to focus instead on the fallout and growth of Sophie as each event shapes her slowly into the self-accepting adult she is at the book's conclusion.
While slow to start, The Wonder Spot doesn't so much pick up the pace but instead the reader slowly becomes more involved and attached to Sophie, making the book compelling in a different manner. Bank also gives Sophie just enough wit and sarcasm to help add the right amount of levity to make the tone not overly self-serious. Anyone who has struggled with that all important question of finding self-importance in the overwhelming adult world will find comforting familiarity in Sophie's struggles and eventual success.
Tim @ Central
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Sophie Applebaum is the middle child in an average, barely-practicing Jewish family. When the story begins she's about 13 and must go to Hebrew school to have bat mitzvah, like her cousin Rebecca. Each chapter portrays a new stage in Sophie's life through her 30's. We are introduced to her friends and lovers, and like many young women, she isn't sure what she wants 'when she grows up,' so we watch her bumble through jobs, boyfriends, etc.
The wit that is inherent in Banks' writing is what made this book so easy to read. I zipped through in less than two days and lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud. Check catalog for availability. You may also enjoy The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank.
Jacki @ Central (2/25/2009)