Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume by Lisa Rumsey Harris

Title: The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume
Author: Lisa Rumsey Harris
Enjoyment Rating: ****
This book would be rated: PG
Source: Review Copy
Books I've read this year: 117

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume, by Lisa Rumsey Harris, whose 2006 essay “Honor in the Ordinary” won Segullah’s Heather Campbell essay contest. Treasure Blume, to be published tomorrow by Cedar Fort, is the kind of book I’d buy for my mom or my sister, or really for anyone who I think could lose themselves in Harris’s story, which is sweet without being saccharine, uplifting without preaching, and just downright funny. Treasure is a first-year elementary school teacher living in Las Vegas who has the curse (or the gift?) of rubbing all adults the wrong way when she meets them (maybe it’s the embroidered sweater sets, the polyester, or the poodle perm, or maybe it’s something that goes deeper. It’s no accident that it took her 44 interviews to land a job and was finally hired by a truly desperate principal.

Because Treasure has been aware of her effect on people ever since her Granny Blume pointed it out to her when she was a teenager, she’s spent the last decade making up for it, finding ways around it, and never using it as an excuse (which is what Granny, cursed with the same family “gift”) did for most of her life. Little kids and old people have no problem with Treasure’s quirks, and if her peers spend their time getting to know her, they learn to appreciate her too. So when Dennis Cameron, Mr. Lunch Lady at Treasure’s school and the father of one of her students, enters the picture, it’s not too much of a surprise what will happen. I appreciate that Harris complicates her characters and makes them feel three- dimensional, but not at the expense of keeping the story fun and light. I read the book in one sitting yesterday afternoon, and with the snow falling outside and the story to keep me entertained, it was a perfect day.

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