Read “13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson”, by Maureen Johnson online on Bookmate – New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny. New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny, heartbreaking, and utterly romantic tale gets a great new cover!Ginny Blackstone never thought s. 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Maureen Johnson. YA FIC Johnson. A Brief Chapter in My. Impossible Life. Dana Reinhardt. YA FIC Reinhardt. Gingerbread.
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13 Little Blue Envelopes maureen johnson For Kate Schafer, the greatest traveling companion in the world, and a woman. Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson's funny, heartbreaking, and utterly romantic tale gets a great new cover!Ginny Blackstone never thought .
There followed a few years of breaking things for no reason and setting the occasional small fire. She had come this far. That was where she belonged. How can Ginny have a sexy adventure in England and then the rest of Europe if her mom is following her around? A young woman with a short and taut blond ponytail came over to her. I was really getting invested, when all of a sudden the ending came.
Carry on with your lives. View all 9 comments. Dec 11, Kathryn rated it did not like it Recommends it for: I read this book as an assignment from a mother-daughter book club that I am in with some friends from B.
It wasn't very good, and while the plot is a nice idea, the author didn't really write it very well. I mean, who would let thier daughter go overseas with no contact to the US and only carrying what she could fit in her backpack. And only haveing US dollars to spend.
In addition to several other appalling facts, some of which are: View all 16 comments. Jul 17, Katya rated it it was ok Shelves: Oh, book. I had such hopes for you. Here's the thing - I love travel stories. I love coming of age stories.
So what's not to love about a coming of age story that involves lots and lots of traveling? It's a hard question to answer, and the fastest way to answer it is: Aunt Peg is one seriously bitter person.
She lives without having constants. Fair enough. She does all sorts of menial, petty jobs while waiting for her career as an artist to hit off. Alright with me. Then she packs up and leaves for Oh, book. Then she packs up and leaves for Europe without contacting her family again. The next news they get from her is that she is dead.
Then comes a letter instructing her niece to go to Europe without money, cell phone or any other means of communication - just a passport and a backpack, and instructions to do all sorts of weird things Ginny the niece is probably not comfortable with.
And I ask - what kind of person does that to a niece they supposedly love? What kind of person expects her to jump on a plane to England with little more than the clothes on her back, without so much as an explenation. The only person who can be more annoying is the one who actually does it! Unfortunately, Ginny does just that.
With surprisingly little drama from her parents, or if there was, it wasn't worth mentioning in the book. A lot of things seem not worth mentioning in the book, for example, why is Ginny not even remotely worried that her aunt's mystic journey might get her adbucted or killed or sold into slavery? Why does she trust all these people who she meets for the first time? Sounds like a vaccine.
The trademark TBTBR hero ine is distinguished by the fact that s he does exactly what s he is told with little to no deviation, never cheats, and at no point does anything to advance the plot. Ginny, unfortunately, qualifies for all these things. I know I'm going out on a tangent here. This isn't horrendously bad, far from it. There are actually some pretty good moments. But Ginny is by far the most uninvolved heroine I've yet to see.
Even Bella Swan, who is known for her uselessness, did stuff to advance the plot of the book. Ginny just lets stuff happen to her and leaves it at that. I'm not saying all protagonists need to be uber confident and strong but this is a coming of age story without any coming of age in it. What does Ginny learn in the end of it? What does she do with that knowledge? How is she different from the person she once was?
I certainly felt like nothing in her had changed. View 1 comment.
This was supposed to be my cute, inoffensive, fluffy, sweet, palate cleanser book So much for best laid plans and all that. To start with the book has an utterly implausible set up, improbable love story, MC that is borderline stupid I was trying to be nice but well But I mean it was okay. I was expecting all of the aforementioned story set ups.
And it was very fluffy and over This was supposed to be my cute, inoffensive, fluffy, sweet, palate cleanser book And it was very fluffy and overall fabulously undemanding of my already drained energy reserves. I was happily distracted, plodding along to a 2 star rating Until I wasn't at all happy anymore. Until I got very angry. Until this book stole my good vibes and drained what little energy I had left. And here's why: Some backstory. Lead character Ginny has been given 13 envelopes each containing directions from her dead aunt about what to do over the course of one summer abroad.
Envelope 6 tells her to head to the temple of the vestal virgins in Rome, and Ginny thereafter, remarks the following to herself Go see old virgins! Now ask a strange boy out, you shy, retarded thing! Do you see the offending word?? I'm sorry.
But no. I do not accept that this was the most appropriate word to use in this situation. Retarded has become synonymous with offensively describing someone with a mental illness and I am appalled that a YA author saw fit to use such a descriptor in her book. And what's more appalling is that this somehow got through editing and proof reading???? Call me overly sensitive if you want but I think this is a word that needs to be confined to the annals of history. Society evolves. Language evolves.
Move with it. Just nope. Especially not in a YA novel that has a target demographic of quite a young age. YA books must be held to a higher standard because of their ability to influence young minds that are just figuring out this world for the first time. And to add insult to injury in the same chapter that this offensive word appears, there is an attempted robbery by what are described as gypsy children and I'm like no. Can we not endorse all this negative cultural stereotyping???
Just call them delinquents but don't try to single them out due to their ethnicity or otherwise. It further enforces long-standing intolerance of minority groups and breeds an air of distrust around those who are not white and privileged AF.
So no. This book is not for me and nor do I recommend it for anyone else. And it's rare that I ever say such things as I usually can see the potential in a book for a certain type of reader But this time No no no. I liked the premise. It was sort of interesting and cute. Dead Aunt sends niece on this unpredictable and slightly loony journey. One very similar to the one that her aunt took when she felt a little lost and was dealing with a bit of a reality check.
She jets to her first destination, London. From there on it's one big ride. She goes through many experiences, and although it's a decent read, I just was not in love with the boo I liked the premise. She goes through many experiences, and although it's a decent read, I just was not in love with the book.
I mean, I finished it fairly quickly. It never lagged, and I might even say that it was slightly engrossing. But it didn't feel all that memorable. The love interest? A bit of a jerk, not to mention a major bore. I could not for the life of me figure out what she saw in the guy.
I also found her confession - regarding her falling for him, rather random, too. I actually recall getting into the book, but by the time I had finished it, I was kind of underwhelmed. Also, I didn't really connect with any characters. I felt lack of depth might have had something to to with it.
I liked it, I just didn't love it. Oh, and the holiday is going rather well so far. A little homesick, but nothing I can't handle ; I listened to this book as an audio book during my drive to New Orleans which made me dislike the book even more I didn't enjoy the reader's voice. I enjoyed the book in the beginning but soon felt like the story was dragging and every country visited after Paris was unnecessary. I also didn't really like any character in this book, they had no depth and weren't interesting or likable.
The concept of this book was so intriguing but I was disappointed. Jan 27, Kayley Hyde rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: If you've ever been to Europe, thought about going to Europe, wanted to go about Europe or even heard of Europe It's a quick, fun summer read. Very clever and warm-hearted. I love the characters, the plot and just everything about it.
It always keeps you guessing. One of my favourites.
Maureen never lets me down. Jul 17, Olivia-Savannah Roach rated it liked it. I was glad to finally be able to read it after I discovered Anissa TheBookworm Central wanted to reread it. We read it together and it was so nice to discuss this read with someone!
What I loved the most about the story would have to be the traveling side of things. I liked reading these envelopes for ourselves, and discovering a little bit more about her Aunt in each one. And she hurt people because of that. But you have to admire her really independent and artistic nature at the same time. She was extremely quiet and shy — even more so than me.
I can be pretty shy sometimes but Ginny took it to a new level. I liked her weirdness and quirkiness. Although sometimes, I have to admit that I found that Ginny was the kind of person who let things happen to her, rather than took advantage of them herself. She was kind of innocent and oblivious to some things around her which bothered me at times.
But not too much. I think this novel showed the benefits and the cons to traveling solo as well. I was really getting invested, when all of a sudden the ending came. This review and others can be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: View all 4 comments. Ongecompliceerde YA roman Apr 29, Jennifer Wardrip rated it really liked it Shelves: The instructions are specific; no cell phones, no maps, and Ginny can only open one envelope at a time, after she's completed each task in the previous letter.
Through the letters, Ginny learns more about what drove her Aunt to flee to Europe in pursuit of her art, and about her Aunt's last year of life, since Aunt Peg has passed away from a brain tumor by the time the first envelope arrives--and Ginny never got to say good-bye.
Through her adventures, Ginny learns a lot about herself. Her own strength and ingenuity, her ability to forgive, and that she, too, can be an interesting person. Others are easier, at least on the surface; find a starving artist and be his mysterious benefactor. Readers will both laugh at some of Ginny's mishaps and cringe at some of her mistakes as the envelopes lead her around Europe. Peopled with a strong cast of supporting characters--the cute playwright she meets in London, the annoying family of Americans with a "schedule" in Amsterdam, the crazy artist friends of her Aunt--the novel unfolds at a fast pace, while never losing its poignancy as Ginny retraces the steps of the Aunt she loved.
Johnson has written an excellent and entertaining novel that I highly recommend. Feb 23, Melanie rated it it was ok Shelves: See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads Mini mini review 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a quick, light read that will intrigue young readers from the first page. This 'road trip novel' is filled with adventure and a cute romance.
Maureen Johnson manages to pull off an entertaining story in pages that may not fulfil older readers' expectations. There were so many holes in the plot and the main character was so oblivious and annoying. While I thought the plot line was excellent, the way it was executed was horridly poor. All in all, I am not a big fan of Maureen's novel, it was my first one by her, and probably the last. Everything seemed to childish and just not for me. MG people can try this but MG readers may dispute this as it had nothing too remarkable or anything that screamed depth.
Nov 21, Flannery rated it it was ok Shelves: The most common emotion it drew out of me was annoyance. No parents, that's who. Ginny wasn't properly equipped to travel the way she did. She talks to strangers, goes back to apartments with random people, just walks around some places at night, and leaves her crap unattended like it is her job.
I'm surprised she didn't end up in a child sex trafficking ring. No, seriously, I am.
This was their stop. They emerged onto a pulsing London street. The road was completely jammed with red buses, black cabs, tiny cars, motorcycles. The sidewalks were crammed to capacity. Though her brain was still cloudy, Ginny felt a shock of energy run through her body at the sight of it all.
Richard directed her around a corner to a building that seemed to stretch on forever. It was a solid wall of golden red brick, with decorative cornices and a dome on the roof. Green awnings stretched above dozens of huge windows, each opulently displaying clothes, perfume, cosmetics, stuffed animals, even a car.
Each one of these awnings was printed with the word Harrods in a mustard-gold script. Richard led Ginny past the windows, past the front doors and the doorman, and around to an unobtrusive nook by a large trash bin. It gets a bit mad in here. Harrods is a big tourist destination. We get thousands and thousands of people a day.
A sign on the wall next to the door listed various departments and floors. Ginny wondered if she was misreading them: Air Harrods helicopter services, Air Harrods jet aircraft, tennis racquet restringing, piano tuning, saddlery, dog coat fitting. That door leads to the ground floor. Plenty of things to look at in Harrods. Ask for Mr.
A display case there featured a miniature speedboat, only big enough for a small child. It was colored olive green and had the name Harrods printed over the bow. The sign said: And then there were people. Massive, scary throngs of people pouring in through the doors, lining up at the display cases. She stepped tentatively into the crowd and was immediately absorbed into the flow of humanity, which sucked 33 her along.
She was pushed past the cigarette lighter repair desk, through a Princess Diana memorial, into a Starbucks, and then dropped on an escalator entirely decorated in Egyptian artifacts or really good copies, anyway. She managed to get through that room pretty much on her own, but the crowd got her again as she passed through the door into a room filled with tuxedos for babies.
Departments that made no sense were strung together in a series of large and small rooms. Every offshoot led to something weirder, and nothing appeared to be an exit. There was always just more. She went from a room displaying colorful kitchen appliances into a room entirely filled with pianos. From there, she was swept up by the crowd into a room of exotic pet supplies.
Even the walls were light blue. The crowd snagged her again— now she was in a bookstore—now back on the Egyptian escalator. She rode all the way down and stepped off into some kind of food palace that stretched on for room after massive room devoted to every kind of food, organized as an ever—Mary Poppin-izing array of displays, great arches of peacockpatterned stained glass and sparkling brass.
Decorative carts stacked with pyramids of perfect fruit. Marble counters loaded down with bricks of chocolate. Her eyes started to water. The voices around her thrummed 34 in her head. She found herself fantasizing about all the places she could rest. Under the fake wagon that held the parmesan cheese display. On the floor next to the shelves full of cocoa. Maybe here, right in the middle of everything.
Maybe people would just step over her. She managed to pull out of the crowd and get to a chocolate counter. A young woman with a short and taut blond ponytail came over to her. Ginny felt herself gripping the counter. Richard Murphy. And what is it I need to tell him?
She was in bed, still in her clothes. It was cool, and the sky outside was a pearly gray. She vaguely recalled Richard putting her in one of those black cabs in front of Harrods. Arriving at his house. Fumbling with keys and what seemed like six locks on the door. Getting up the stairs. She kicked her feet. They were still hanging there off the edge of the bed. She looked around the room. It was strange to be waking up here—not only in a different country different country.
This room really felt like a moment from her past, like Aunt Peg had just walked through the room, covered in blotches of paint, humming under her breath. Aunt Peg hummed a lot. It was kind of annoying. Now he was wearing running pants and a T-shirt. This made no sense. Jet lag. Now her brain was catching up.
Eight a. Cargo shorts. Practical shoes. She picked out a pair of jeans and a shirt. Once she had filled her arms with all the necessary items, Ginny suddenly felt self-conscious about being seen going into the bathroom.
She poked her head out of the bedroom and, seeing that Richard had his back turned, dashed across the hall and quickly shut the door. At home, the bathrooms were crammed full of countrycrafty wicker wall ornaments, and seashells, and potpourri that smelled like the Hallmark store.
This room was stark blue with blue carpet and dark blue towels. No decorations. All of her toiletries were carefully sealed up in a plastic bag, which she set on the carpet.
Wall-to-wall—plush but worn flat. Who carpeted a bathroom? Her stuff was all pink—had she meant to buy so much pink? Pink soap, pink miniature shampoo bottle, little pink razor. Why was she so pink? She took a second to close the blind on the large bathroom window.
Then she turned to the tub. She looked at the wall, then up at the ceiling. There was no showerhead. But it was all too real. There was a Y-shaped rubber tube. There were open suction cups on each tip of the Y part, and there was a handle on the end of the stem that looked a lot like a phone. After examining the tub and this device, Ginny determined that the Y tips were supposed to go over the two spigots, and water would come out of the phone, and some shower-like action would result.
She gave this a try. Water shot up toward the ceiling. She quickly pointed the shower phone into the tub and jumped in. But it proved impossible to try to wash herself and juggle the shower phone, 39 and she gave up and filled the tub. Also, the bath was amazingly loud—every movement produced a sloshing noise that echoed embarrassingly. She tried to make her movements as conservative as possible as she washed up, but the effort was lost as soon as she had to submerge herself to wash her hair.
She was pretty sure that ocean liners could be lowered into the sea and make less noise than she did. When the drama of the bath was over, she realized that she had another, totally unexpected problem. Her hair was soaked, and she had no way of drying it.
There was no alternative, it seemed, but to quickly bind it up in braids. When she emerged, she found Richard all suited up in what appeared to be the same suit and tie he had on the day before. Richard started opening cabinet doors and pointing out things that might be considered breakfast-worthy. He excused himself for a moment. Ginny got a glass and poured herself some of the juice. It was warm and 40 incredibly thick.
She took a sip and gagged slightly as the intense, overly sweet syrup coated her throat. I should have told you. If you ever get locked out, I leave a spare key wedged in the crack in the step. Then he was gone, and Ginny was at the table alone, with her glass of syrup. She picked up the bottle and examined it to see if there was any warning, any indication that it was anything but normal juice, anything that would make her behavior less freakish. To her relief, there was nothing on the bottle that could have helped her.
Which is where she was. She was in a kingdom far, far from home. And who was this Richard, anyway, aside from a guy in a suit who worked in a big store?
Looking around his kitchen, she decided he was definitely single. There were relatively few groceries—just things like this warm instant juice stuff. There were some clothes on the chairs nearest to the wall and a few scattered crumbs and coffee granules on the table. It must have taken time to make the collage and sew the bedspread. She had to have been here for months. She got up and retrieved the package. After brushing a spot clean, she laid the envelopes out on the table.
She looked over each of the eleven unopened ones. Most had been decorated with some kind of picture as well as a number. The front of the next one had been painted in watercolors in the style of a Monopoly Community Chest card.
Aunt Peg had created her own version of the little man in the top hat with the monocle, with a very fat and round plane going by the background. They read: That required her to find out what Richard had sold the queen and getting to an ATM. She needed money anyway. All she had left was a handful of strangely shaped coins, which she hoped would be enough to get her back to Harrods. Ginny snatched up the directions that Richard had written for her minutes before, dumped the offending juice down the sink, and headed for the door.
The sign on the front listed several famous-sounding destinations, including Knightsbridge, and the number matched one of the bus numbers Richard had given her.
There was a small bus shelter a few feet away, and it looked like the bus planned on stopping there. Two black poles with illuminated yellow globes on top of them marked the opening of the pedestrian crossing. Ginny ran to these, glanced to make sure the coast was clear, and started to run across the road.
Sudden honking. A big black cab whizzed past her. As Ginny jumped back, she saw something written on the road. She managed to get across the road and tried to ignore the fact that everyone on one side of the bus had just witnessed her 43 near-death experience. She had no idea what to pay the driver. Ginny helplessly held out her little bit of remaining money and he took one of the fat coins. She went up the narrow spiral staircase in the middle of the bus. There were many seats available, and Ginny took one at the very front.
The bus started to move. It felt like she was floating. From her perspective, it looked like the bus was running over countless pedestrians and bicyclists, squashing them into oblivion. She pushed herself farther back into the seat and tried not to pay any attention to this.
Except they had to have just killed that guy on the cell phone. Ginny waited to feel the bump as the bus rolled over his body, but it never came. She looked around at the imposing facades of the stately buildings around her. The sky went from cloudy to gray in the space of a moment, and rain started hammering the wide windows in front of her. Now it looked like they were mowing down huge crowds of umbrella carriers.
She looked down at her smattering of remaining coins. Her parents somehow made this fact apparent without ever coming out and saying it. Still, it never seemed like Aunt Peg was wanting for anything.
She always seemed to have enough money to take Ginny for frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity, or to buy her piles of art supplies, or to make her elaborate Halloween 44 costumes, or to get that jar of really good caviar she bought once just because she thought Ginny should taste it.
It was still gross. Pounds seemed possible. Pounds sounded like they should come in the form of tiny burlap bags tied in rough string, filled with little bits of metal or shiny objects.
Aunt Peg could have that kind of money. Richard had gotten there first and was waiting in a booth. He smiled and dabbed some ketchup onto his steak. Ginny tried not to wince. I make arrangements to get it to them. And occasionally, occasionally, I get to set up royal visits. One day, we got a call from the palace that the queen wanted to come 45 over that evening, in just a few hours.
She never does that. But this night she wanted to come in, and there was no one else available. So I had to take care of her. Big ones. Very nice ones as well, but big ones. I mailed the package. I suppose you know that? Someone had to send it. We were good mates. About your family.
I felt like I knew you before you ever got here. His sudden directness. They both stopped to watch her pick them up. Richard showed Ginny to the ATM and returned to work, with the promise of seeing her in the evening. She approached one and stuck in the card. The machine politely asked for a code. The machine purred and showed her a few advertisements about how she could save for a home, and then it asked her what she wanted.
She had no idea what she wanted, but she had to pick something. Some number. There were lots of numbers to choose from. Twenty pounds, please. That seemed like a good, basic kind of number. She was on her own. She would need to buy things and get around, so.
One hundred pounds, please. The machine asked for a moment. Ginny felt her stomach drop. Then a stack of crisp purple and blue notes different sizes: Now she got it. Aunt Peg had come through. Why Mysterious Benefactor Day? Well, Gin, let me give you a because: You need a little serendipity, a little luck, a little boost. Make someone think that wonderful things are happening to them for no reason they can see.
Step one: Withdraw pounds from the account. Step two: Find an artist in London whose work you like, someone you think deserves a break. This is going to require some looking around on your part. Any kind of artist—a painter, a musician, a writer, an actor. Step three: You are so wrong, Gin. Those are your orders. Love, Your Runaway Aunt The Benefactor The next morning, after reading her letter and splashing around in the tub, Ginny joined Richard at the kitchen table. He was loosely dressed—unbuttoned shirt, undone tie—and was roughly flipping through the sports section of the paper and shoving pieces of toast into his mouth.
Sounds like a Peg task. For someone who lived pretty randomly, she was a bit of a neat freak. Shelia Studies, paintings by Romily Mezogarden.
Harry Smalls, demolition artist. She managed to make it to the front door just a second before he did, and they walked out into the drizzly morning together. No one was there, but the girl behind the counter was making a whole pitcher of beet juice anyway. She waved a purple-stained hand at them as they came in. Shelia had a large, flat head with a square chunk of yellow hair sticking up out of it.
Shelia usually just stood around 4: Shelia Standing; 7: Shelia Standing in 54 Bedroom; Shelia Standing in Road. Sometimes, she would stand around and hold things Shelia with Eggbeater or look at things Shelia Looking at Pencil , and then she would get tired and sit 9: Shelia Sitting on Box. That seemed like a lot, considering that they were really ugly and the whole thing seemed uncomfortably stalker-like. These could be the greatest pictures in the world.
There were people who could tell these things. She was not one of them. Still, it seemed like she should have a slight air of competence. She got the strange feeling that somehow Richard was expecting her to know something.
All kinds of things. Half a briefcase. Half a sofa. Half a mattress. Half a tube of toothpaste. Half an old car. Ginny thought this one over, then asked herself if she really wanted to give almost a thousand dollars to a guy who had a chain saw problem.
Once they were back outside, Ginny struggled to come up with another idea. Street musicians, people like that? Lots of performers. All sorts of things going on, people selling things.
It has its own tube stop. Come on, then. There was nothing garden-like about Covent Garden. It was a large cobblestoned plaza, jammed with tourists and stalls of knickknacks. There was also no shortage of performers.
She gave it her best, spending over an hour sitting on the curb, watching. Some guys juggled knives. Several guitarists of varying quality played either acoustically or through banged-up amps. A magician pulled a duck from his coat. She could picture the scene—the astonished knifethrowers looking at the flutter of twenty-pound notes.
She gripped the money in her pocket, balled it tight, then got up and started walking. The sun was making more of an effort today, and the Londoners seemed to appreciate it. Ginny wandered around the stalls, wondering if she should buy Miriam a T-shirt.
Then she was walking down a street full of bookstores. Her chances of succeeding seemed to be rapidly dwindling. Plus, the advertisement gave directions. It seemed worth a try. She found herself on a city street, with a few fairly modern academic buildings scattered around. Of course, she realized, it was also summer, and evening, which meant no school and no students.
She wandered around, glancing at a few flyers stuck to notice boards and walls. A few protests. Yoga classes. A few album releases. She was about to turn and give up when a flapping piece of paper caught her eye. There was a cartoon of a man diving into a coffee cup. The bottom of the flyer said that the show was written, produced, directed, and designed by someone named Keith Dobson. Something about this just sounded promising. And it was still going on—even now, in the summer. Tickets, the flyer promised, were on sale in something called the uni.
She asked a girl passing by what it was. There was a flyer for the show stuck to the door and a pale redheaded guy visible through the nine inches of plastic window that made this a box office and not a closet. He looked up from a copy of War and Peace. He held up his hands and indicated eight.
She dug around in her pocket and found one of the tiny five-pound notes and three of the pound coins and carefully pressed these through the slot in the plastic, and he pulled a photocopied ticket from a cigar box and passed it over to her. Then he jerked his finger, pointing her toward two red double doors at the end of the hall. It was a little damp. A few fake palm trees had been pushed off to the side.
The seats were mostly empty and a few people sat on the floor or on steps in the back of the room. All in all, there were only maybe ten people in the audience. Most of them were smoking and talking to one another. It felt like a private party in a basement. She was thinking about getting up and leaving just as a girl appeared in the doorway near where she had come in and flipped off the light switches.
Punk music started to blast from a few scattered speakers on one side of the room. A moment later, it stopped abruptly, and a light came on in the middle of the stage. Standing there was a guy, maybe her age or just a little older, dressed in a green kilt, a Starbucks shirt, heavy black boots, and a top hat. A fringe of light reddish hair stuck out from under the 59 hat, brushing along the top of his shoulders.
He had a wide, slightly evil grin. More insults. He seemed to like that. It ended tragically when she stopped drinking coffee, and he threw himself offstage into what was supposed to be the Main Bean Supply. All of this was somehow arranged by Jittery, who remained onstage the entire time, talking to the audience, telling Joe what to do, and holding up signs that gave statistics on how the global economy was wrecking the environment.
There were a lot of random things going on, like a guy who sometimes rode through the scene on a bike for no reason that Ginny could figure.
Despite all of that, Ginny found herself quickly and totally engrossed—and she knew why. She had a thing for performers. It probably had something to do with all of the performances Aunt Peg had taken her to as a kid. Or singing, dancing, telling jokes. Flaunting themselves with no embarrassment. He jumped around the stage. He prowled through the audience. He owned the place.
When it was all over, she picked up a program someone had left on the seat next to her and read it. Keith Dobson—director, writer, producer—also happened to play Jittery Grande. Keith Dobson was her artist.
And she had little burlap sacks to give to him. The next morning, as she made her way down the long linoleum hallway to the little ticket closet, Ginny realized that her shoes were squeaky. Really squeaky. She stopped and looked down at her sneakers. There they were, white with pink stripes, poking out below the heavy olive drab of her cargo shorts.
She remembered the exact sentence from the travel guide that had caused her to choose these shoes out of all possible shoes: Sneakers are universally acceptable, and white ones will keep you cool in the summer. Hated it, and the person who wrote it. These shoes made her stand out—and not just because of the noise. White sneakers were the Official Shoe of Tourists.
This was London, and the real Londoners wore skinny heels or Euroshoes in weird colors or coffee-colored leather boots. No one wore shorts either. Anyway squeak, squeak , what was she supposed to do? Well, she could, but then there was no way of making sure it would get to him. She would just buy the tickets quickly and anonymously. It was the best way. Tickets were eight pounds. Ginny quickly did the math in her head, then strode up to the window.
The guy looked up from his copy of War and Peace. He had come pretty far in one day, Ginny noticed. The Simpsons shirt was the same, though. Then he shut it decisively. It seemed to suddenly get very loud. In New Jersey? Five pounds each. Lots more. He was really pale. She guessed that was what happened if you spent the summer in a basement, sitting in a closet next to a bucket.
Why do you think the Japanese business men were so generous? Where is Ginny off to next? Would you be able to resist the temptation to read all the.
If you could be anywhere in 25 hours where would you go? What story of Aunt Peg was revealed inside letter 12? How important is it to.
Explain what happened as the girls went swimming and the boys slept. How does it cut. What is lost? What would be the biggest loss? How is she rescued? What does Ginny learn from Richard after her escape from Greece?
Why does she feel. How does it all become very real? How are things between Ginny and. What do they do with them? List all the things you would do with that much money. What do you think Aunt Peg. CCCS Projects: Read through your favorite letter from Aunt Peg. Underline words which give away her feelings on a particular topic. I was very into this idea of being a single woman, committed to a higher purpose, like the vestals.
They wanted to struggle—alone—them against the world. So I wanted to struggle. This reveals the tone of the writer as resigned and a bit desperate to make her mark on the world as an artist. There was no right or wrong way of looking at them, and there was no reason to feel intimidated by them. This one is a very bold one. But this is also a witnessing. We want to remember and we want to be remembered. Ginny had no idea why this was important, but sure enough. Triangles everywhere.
Check out the following paintings that appear in the novel by putting the title and artist in google images:. Then, write a journal response to the museums and the two paintings. Consider these questions to jump start your response, or just jump in. Piet spent much of his adult life in a room with a masterpiece but never took note of it.
What do you ignore in plain sight? What do you never really look at in your own life? What is the meaning behind the Manet poster that Aunt Peg loved most? Which piece of art appealed to you most? Did the picture tell a story? What was it? Did you notice the triangles within it? Why do you suppose the author used the palette that they did?
Do the colors appeal to you? If you could be a master painter what subjects would you explore? What media? Or, write a letter you wish you would receive and an adventure scene to go with it starring the life you wish you had. At the end of each chapter, on sticky notes, write a one sentence summary of the chapter.
Or, write a sentence about what Ginny learned in that chapter. Then, at the end of the book, pull all your sticky notes and try to sort them into categories or topics. With a partner discuss the following questions regarding theme:. What was the most important lesson Ginny learned about her aunt on this adventure? What did Ginny learn about herself?
Which part of the journey changed Ginny the most? Why do you think so? Agree I would travel anywhere with any excuse to do so. After reading letter 1 and the first chapter, list everything you know about Virginia Blackstone and any questions that were raised for you. What does she ask her niece to do and NOT do? List the surprises that Ginny discovers at 54a Pennington Street, London in order of importance. What did she do? How odd would it be to stay with someone you just met but who had this important connection with you?
What types of artist would you seek out? Is Ginny sabotaging herself on purpose or not?