Title: Whistling In the Dark
Author: Lesley Kagen
Release Date: May 1, 2007
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 3 out of 5
From the back cover:
Sally O’Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she’d look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls’ mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.
Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she’s next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.
I’ve read a lot of great reviews of Whistling In the Dark, so when I picked it up, I expected an extremely enjoyable read. While it was a well-written book, I can’t say I found it as compelling as others have. I also read this book during the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon, and I wonder if that had something to do with my lack of enthusiasm for this novel.
The story is told from the point of view of Sally, an eleven year old girl living in 1959, and I think that’s where the book lost me. I don’t think I really enjoy books told from the point of view of children. Still, Kagen writes Sally’s innocence well, although her thought processes seem a bit advanced for her age.
The mystery of Whistling In the Dark is definitely the driving force of the novel. It’s why I kept on with it, though I didn’t identify with the narrator. It’s very well-crafted and not really obvious at all. However, I did pick up on some of the “twists” of the novel and knew they were coming long before they actually occurred in the novel.
Though Whistling In the Dark wasn’t for me, that doesn’t mean it is a poorly written book or that you shouldn’t give it a try. I didn’t really enjoy the choice of narrator, but if you think you might like it, you should definitely read it!