Here Lies the Librarian

Author: Richard Peck

The year is 1914, and Peewee McGrath and her big brother Jake just about do all right with their garage on the outskirts of nowhere, fixing flats and selling gas to passing travelers. They’re looking forward to the day the government finally gets a paved road out their way, though–then they’ll show those Kirbys. When the elegant Irene Ridpath and her three best friends take the long-vacant position of town librarian, Jake and Peewee find their world in a not-unpleasant sort of upheaval what with lady-like acquaintances in expensive cars, library teas, even dresses for Peewee–not something she’s particularly fond of, for sure. And on top of all the to-do with the updated library, there’s the automobile race Jake plans to win . . . if he can ever get his home-build car up and running.

No matter how many times I read Richard Peck’s books, I’m always impressed by just how good they are–and how much good solid fun they are. Here Lies the Librarian is an excellent example: vintage cars, strong-willed and capable women, nutty old couples still thinking they’re living during the Civil War, a tornado that rips up a graveyard, and numerous showdowns with the other garage in town go into making this amusing story. There’s a nice balance of history, drama, romance, and humor–this is a book with a great story that never takes itself too seriously. As for excellent characters, they abound: Irene and her friends who are ready to take on the world, Peewee who’s trying to find her place in it, Jake the shy car-crazy enigma, Aunt Hat who’s known by all to be crazy, and a slew of others. Whether you’re looking for a solid look at country life in 1914, for an interesting look at vintage automobiles or that time, or just for a good laugh, Here Lies the Librarian is an excellent choice.

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