Peewee (Eleanor) is a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in Indiana in 1914. She lives with her big brother and helps him out in their gas station/auto repair shop. The story opens as a tornado whips through town, and when they emerge from their shelter, they find that the tornado has touched down in the cemetery, unearthing graves and depositing bodies in trees.
The tornado damage is reported in a local newspaper, which mentions that the library - closed since the death of the town's only librarian - was damaged as well. The newspaper article comes to the notice of several library school students, three wealthy young women, all friends, who drive fancy cars, wear lovely, fashionable clothes, and decide that working at the small-town library will be just thing to give them real-world library experience.
One of the librarians takes an interest in Peewee, inviting her to help in the library (she'd been banned from there by the grumpy old librarian back before it closed), and Peewee is drawn to her and the library in spite of herself. She's a bit suspicious, asking if she's trying to turn her into a librarian. But she is told that no one can turn Peewee into anything except Peewee herself. And that is a concept that is carried through the book.
Out-of-control car races, savage bullies, bodies in trees, quirky characters, library tea parties, courtroom dramas - this book has it all. It offers a clear picture of life in small-town Indiana in the years before World War I. Peewee is a sympathetic character who may be a bit too stubborn for her own good, but she has a good heart and a quick mind, and it was an enjoyable experience to follow her life as she grows into the kind of person she decides to be. Her voice carries the narrative with humor and passion, and as read by Lara Everly the audio book was a gripping and enjoyable tale.
Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck; narrated by Lara Everly (Listening Library, 2006)
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Book Bits: "This is an entertaining story about small town life and the beginning of automobile racing, with a sideline in libraries and librarians as well as women's rights.
The Magic of Books: "Although the main character is a girl of 14 on the verge of "growing up", it has a number of appealing aspects that boys would enjoy. Some of these include the obvious racing, mechanics, car manufacturing, and outsmarting bullies."
Reader Monkey: "The ending was fairly predictable, although the description of the final race is fast-paced and the details make it fun to read."