Book Review: The Romantic Obsessions & Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier by Louise Plummer

January 16, 2012

I don’t like being an immigrant. I think of coarse-faced peasants in burlap pants carrying a couple of chickens in  a basket and leading a goat down a gangplank when I hear “immigrant.”

sehlmeierI picked up The Romantic Obsessions & Romantic Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier by Louise Plummer at the library book sale because I really enjoyed The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman, which I picked up on a whim. So! Why not spend ten cents on an author I enjoyed before?

This book is about a girl whose family immigrates to the US (specifically, Utah) from Holland and what happens to her during their first year in the US.

There’s nothing about the book I didn’t like, so some highlights:

– I realized that I really want to read more realistic fiction that deals with slice of life stories. By which I mean, no heightened craziness, no wacky stuff, just…life. So I really appreciated this story for that.

– I loved the look at what it’s like to live with a senile grandparent and how difficult it is–especially dealing with the feelings of loss, anger, resentment, and sadness.

– Bras are for old women!

– The romances and obsessions of Annie and her sister, Henny, are fantastic. I loved that Annie could really like one boy and enjoy his company, but also be completely infatuated by the complete pretty and charm of another boy.

– Great exploration of sisterly relationships and, again, more resentment, but also forgiveness and love. Annie is the favorite, which causes, understandably, lots of issues.

– Awesome female friendship stuff here.

– Plummer also covers concerns of immigrants. Annie and Henny speak English, but their parents and grandmother don’t. They also had more money in Holland than they do in the US. The way the homes are laid out is different, the streets, the schools. Also, the pain of translation when doing homework is addressed. Annie has to translate all of the directions before she can do her work, so her math homework especially winds up taking her hours and hours even though she can do the work and understands the concepts. Oh, and the bra thing of course. Annie is pissed she has to wear a bra.

– I really love every single thing involving Oma, heartbreaking as they may be.

– Annie and Martha read The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough and suh-woon over the steaminess of it all.

– The cover fits the story perfectly. Perfectly.

Off the Shelf: 2/30

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