close to famous by Joan Bauer
If the name Joan Bauer is familiar to some of you, it might be because you read Hope Was Here for the Coming of Age book circles in Secondary 1. I enjoyed the realism of that book and that’s why I chose to read another Joan Bauer novel.
close to famous is a happier novel than HWH, perhaps because the protagonist, Foster, is younger. She’s also somewhat naive, but she changes and grows up over the course of the novel.
Bauer addresses many real-life issues in this novel, but not to the point that the reader is overwhelmed. Foster’s problems aren’t common, but they are within the realm of possibility. At no point did I think, “Now this is too far-fetched.” All of the sub-plots worked together.
One fault that I had with the book was the sheer number of characters. I sometimes had to backtrack to remind myself who a character was. Considering that I read this book in the space of a day, that shouldn’t have happened. Losing one or two of the more minor characters wouldn’t have had a huge impact on the story.
However, like in HWH, the characters that Bauer creates are nice, good people, with a few jerks thrown in as foils. Foster is one of these good, nice people, and you can’t help but like her. She’s been through a lot, but doesn’t take it out on anyone around her.
The book is set in a small town which the author names and sets in a state. It’s generic enough that it could take place anywhere, though.
The end leaves the reader wondering “What next?”, but it’s a hopeful ending, and I was okay with not having everything all wrapped up in a tidy package. close to famous is a cute book and an easy read; I recommend it to anyone who has read and enjoyed other novels of Bauer’s.