Review: Local author provides feelings of home in coming-of-age tale _lowres



by Mary R. Arno, Koehler Books,

158 pages, $24.95 hardcover

I always look forward to reading books by local authors because they often leave me with a sense of familiar nostalgia, and “Thanksgiving” did not disappoint.

The story begins during the characters’ formative years in 1965 New Orleans. We get a small glimpse into each of their lives, not knowing that the stories will later circle back to important events that happened during this time. Peg and Emmaline are childhood friends having to deal with problems too complicated for their young years. Meanwhile, Mimi gets a glimpse into a side of adult life that children rarely see.

As they grow older, their stories wind and intersect, with positive and negative repercussions. Slowly, secrets from that first summer are revealed, with surprising, and sometimes devastating, results.

Mary R. Arno, a New Orleans native, is a talented writer who keeps her prose short and snappy without losing any descriptive flair. By the second chapter in each of the girls’ lives, I started to worry about them — a sign of good characterization.

The section where Mimi and Peg are in college brought me right back to that time in my life and made me homesick for LSU. Luckily, I only live 20 minutes away, so I drove over and finished the rest of the book in the sunshine on the Parade Ground.