Sara Louise "Wheeze" Bradshaw struggles with inner turmoil as she fights to be seen in her sisters shadow. Louise Bradshaw has lived her entire life hidden in the glare of sunshine that is her sister Caroline. Even as an infant, she was left forgotten in the shadows when her sister even bats an eye. Finding no validation in her parents or grandmother, Louise looks in her friend Call and even the object of her affection, Hiram Wallace (Captain). It soon becomes time to start their lives and the two sisters go their separate ways. When Caroline is first to leave for college in New York, Louise finally bursts. When she lets it all go in confessing to her mother everything she feels, Louise finds the release that she's been waiting so long for. Her mother encourages her to leave her home in Rass in Chesapeake Bay and go to college. With this simple missive, Louise realizes the freedom that she's had all along and she later learns that the struggle was more internal than she thought. She learns that life is what you make it and your future isn't determined but how far the shadow of the person in front of you stretches but how far you can make your own stretch.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved this story because it presented a very solid embodiment of the internal and external struggle that tears siblings apart everyday.
Best scene in story:
There is a moment in the last chapter of the book where Louise, now full grown with a family of her own, is delivering a set of twins. Something goes slightly wrong and in her anxiety for the second twin, a little girl, she forgot about the baby boy that came first, the same way her parents forgot about her when she and Caroline were born. This scene is my favorite because though many would think it unacceptable for a parent to forget their child, Louise realizes for a moment how easy it was for them to forget her. But she rectifies this mistake by doing something her parents did do for her. She goes back for the child and pulls him in.
Opinion about the main character:
What I liked most about Louise was the way I so easily related to her, though that can really be accredited to the author. I found it very comforting to slip into shoes that were mine but made for someone else.
Louise Bradshaw is the older of her parent's twins. She lives on a small island with her sister Caroline, who is everyone's favorite, her mother, her father, who Louise feels closest to, and her grandmother, who is insane.
The story covers Louise's early adolescence to adulthood. Most of the story is about Louise's feelings of being left out and unloved by everyone but her father, but also covers the story of a 70 year old man, who used to be her grandmother's love, her extreme rivalry with the perfect Caroline, her friendship and later half love with Call, and her own struggle to define who she is. The story ends with Louise leaving the island for Kentucky, where she becomes a nurse, gets married, and has her own child and stepchildren.
This report prepared by Rachael High