In Thimble Summer Enright projects a deep understanding of the concerns and emotions of young adults. Garnet Linden, her brother Jay, and their friends Citronella Hauser and Eric Swanstrom are complex, engaging characters, and their desire for adventure, their need for security, and their wish to be respected will touch responsive chords in most young readers.
Garnet enjoys living on a farm with her parents and brother, but she is curious about the world outside her small country home, and she longs to venture out on her own, seeking education and excitement. Her adventures in town and her interaction with the other characters in the novel make for an amusing, moving story about growing up. Setting
Most of the book's events take place during a summer in the 1930s in Esau Valley, Wisconsin, where Garnet lives on her family's farm. The valley contains a river, marshland, and woods. Local farmers raise com and oats, as well as cattle, pigs, and chickens. Some of the action takes place in New Conniston, a small town that, for a country girl like Garnet, glitters "like Bagdad and Zanzibar and Constantinople." New Conniston has a dime store, furniture stores, restaurants, and movie theaters. For Garnet, it is a place full of Interesting people, city luxuries, and prospects for adventure. New Conniston is also the location of the Southwestern Wisconsin Fair, held in early September. Complete with carnival sideshows and rides, the fair offers...
(The entire section is 370 words.)