Isabella "Teaspoon" Marlene, is a fighting, jabbering, ten-year-old tomboy who is being raised by Teddy Favors, one of her mother's abandoned conquests. Teddy is a good man, but doesn't have the money, time, or knowledge to guide Teaspoon. On the verge of flunking forth-grade, Teaspoon's teachers intervene and require that get a Sunshine Sister. The Sunshine Sisters is a mentoring group that gives wayward girls role models and mentors. Teaspoon is not excited about this 'do-gooder' program, and would prefer to hang out with two local prostitutes.
Teaspoon's Sunshine Sister is Brenda Bloom, the reigning Sweetheart of Mill Town. The Blooms own the town's theater, a place Teaspoon loves and sneaks into regularly. Being able to meet in the theater is a huge draw and Teaspoon embraces the program.
The Blooms, who are renovating the theater, plan to put on live shows as well as movies. Brenda hires Teaspoon and this gives the two girls plenty of time to get close.
While Teaspoon pines for her mother, (she'd left to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress) she and Brenda learn from each other. Teaspoon is abandoning her 'afflictions' in droves while Brenda admires Teaspoon's bravado. When Brenda discovers Teaspoon's immense singing talent, she decides to put her in a show.
The upcoming show becomes the focus of the story until Teaspoon's mom, Catty Marlene, reappears after a 5-year absence. Drunk every night, she takes Teaspoon to the bar then threatens to take Teaspoon on the road with her.
Teddy and a cast of other nice people fight to do what's best for Teaspoon.
How High the Moon has a huge heart and I loved it. The diminutive, quiet, hard-working Teddy is a perfect hero and Teaspoon, a delightful, outspoken girl. The entire story is expertly written from Teaspoon's perspective, and the author does an incredible job of showing us, not telling us, what is happening.
Teaspoon often misinterprets things and that is part of the charm. As deplorable as Catty is, you understand her and she's hard to hate.
Lovely story. I highly recommend it.
In this tender novel set in 1955 Mill Town, Wisconsin, Sandra Kring explores the complicated bond between mothers and daughters, the pressure to conform, and the meaning of friendship and family.
Ten-year-old Isabella “Teaspoon” Marlene has been a handful ever since her mother, Catty, dumped her with an old boyfriend and ran off to Hollywood. Teaspoon fights, fibs, never stops singing, and is as unpredictable and fearless as a puppy off its leash. Still, Teddy Favors, a man who has taken his share of kicks, is determined to raise her right.
Teaspoon wants to be better for Teddy—even if that means agreeing to take part in a do-gooder mentorship program and being paired up with Brenda Bloom, the beautiful reigning Sweetheart of Mill Town. Against all odds, as the summer passes, this unlikely duo discover a special friendship as they face personal challenges, determined to follow their hearts instead of convention.
It’s while Brenda and Teaspoon are putting together the grandest show the Starlight Theater has ever seen that Catty returns to Mill Town, shattering illusions and testing loyalties. But by the final curtain call, one determined little girl shows an entire town the healing that can happen when you let your heart take center stage.