Saturday, September 10, 2011

Louisiana Series: An audio Book review of My Louisiana Sky (AKA the day I began to worry about Coral Snakes)

As a way to get to know my new state of residence, I've been trying to read literature about Louisiana. 

(The selection has proven to be a little...pathetic.  There's not much of a selection.  Especially since I'd like to read about more than just New Orleans.)

First off, let me tell you that my general knowledge of Louisiana was very limited before moving here:  Hurricane Katrina, other hurricanes, cajuns, Remy from the X-men, alligators, oil spill, Mardi Gras, True Blood/The Southern Vampire series (which, admittedly I've seen every episode of/read every book).

It's a pretty limited view of an entire state.

I actually had to bite my tongue during my initial Skype job interview to stop myself from asking if alligators and hurricanes were something I should worry about in the area I would be moving (Answers:  Not too concerned unless a hurricane displaces the alligators and Yes, be concerned:  power outages possibly lasting weeks, high winds and rain during the storms.)

So, I was left feeling like I wanted to see some of the other ways that my new state is presented.  I--of course--turned to children's literature.

I decided to begin my acquaintance (and this new series of reviews) with Louisiana in children's literature by listening to the audiobook of Kimberly Willis Holt's My Louisiana Sky.  She's the author of When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, which I read five or six years ago and remember enjoying.

The premise is that Tiger Anne--a girl living in Saitter, Louisiana--faces a choice.  She and her grandmother have always had to look after Tiger's mother and father who are both "retarded" (to use the dated language in this historical novel).  When tragedy strikes, Tiger must face the choice of moving to Baton Rouge to live with her stylish aunt and staying home to care for her parents.

An angsty premise that is one-part coming of age story and two-parts character figuring out her own identity through a major decision story.  I could get into it.

I especially liked that Tiger was a tomboy who played baseball better than most of the boys.

I downloaded and started listening...and absolutely *hated* the tones the narrator used to voice the various characters.  Sometimes her Southern accent didn't match the Louisiana accent I've been enjoying for the past few weeks.  Often when she gave voice to minor characters, she spoke in tones that made them sound completely and unnecessarily idiotic. 

I was not a big fan.  I probably would have enjoyed the story more if I read it.

I did eventually ease into the story.  Especially when a character died of a heart attack after seeing a coral snake.  (So...coral this something I have to worry about now?)

Louisiana, please advise.

Then towards the end of the book, there was a hurricane.


At least there weren't any alligators.

How much I learned about Louisiana:  Not too much.
How much I felt comforted about some of the supposedly-scary aspects of the state usually presented by the media:  Also not too much.

I have since discovered there was a children's movie made of the My Louisiana Sky, starring Juliette Lewis and a younger Michael Cera, among others.


Netflix guesstimates I'd give the movie two stars.


I did add the movie to my queue.  It will stay at the bottom and I'll get to it when I get to it.

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