Lucinda Hunter, daughter of the famous late movie star Lily Hunter, lives a solitary life. Now getting on in age, she suffers from agorophobia which prevents her leaving the house for any real length of time. One day, a little black girl named Katanya is by her window. Katanya waves to her and beckons her outside to talk. An instant friendship ensues. Katanya lives in the city but has come to the country for two weeks for the "Fresh Air" program. The family she has to stay with suffers a marital breakdown and Katanya tries to stay away from the tension and also the prejudice evident in the house.
Katanya spends a lot of time with Lucinda and they get to know each other's lives. Slowly but surely, Katanya encourages Lucinda to go outside for the first time in years. Lucinda's desire to show Katanya a good time on her exchange seems greater than her desire to be a hermit.
Lucinda found out after her mother's death that her father was a black man, however Lucinda never met him or his family. She hired a detective company to try and find him but was unsuccessful. Katanya, who is extraordinarily bright for her age, gives a new approach to the search and Lucinda is motivated to look again.
This book looks at several fascinating facets, agorophobia, the search for your parents/family tree, racial prejudice and the struggle for identity when you have a mixed parentage. It also is a heartwarming story of family and friends, and the triumph of love in the life of the lonely.
This report prepared by Louisa Eggleton
Mira, Apr 2003, 23.95, 288 pp.
For the most part, Lucinda Hunter has not left her Connecticut home in twenty-seven years. Rarely she will leave to go into town, but that takes quite a struggle for her to achieve. Shockingly, Lucinda is the daughter of the late great actress Lily Hunter and a noted screenwriter in her own right. However, when her mother died, Lucinda learned that her father was a black man. Unable to cope with not knowing whether she belongs to the white or black race, both or neither, she became a hermit.
Lucinda looks out her window to see a young African-American female playing in her yard. The girl invites Lucinda outside. Surprisingly she goes and soon a bond forms between the nine-year-old Harlem resident Katanya Taylor, in town as part of the FRESH AIR program, and the recluse. As they become better acquainted, Kat helps Lucinda overcome her agoraphobia one step at a time.
FRESH AIR is an engaging contemporary tale that showcases how modern communication systems enable an individual to hide from society as everything can be ordered on line. The story line focuses on friendship, as everyone needs someone to care about. Lucinda is an incredible lead character and though Kat acts more like an adult than a preadolescent, readers will find her charming too. The support cast provides the audience deep insight into Lucinda as Charlotte Vale Allen gifts her fans with a deep psychological drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner