Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit

Andrews McMeel. Aug. 2021. 576p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781524865450.
Gr 7 Up–Mary, a daughter of a Greek father and French mother, lives in Detroit with her twin sister and younger brothers during the Great Depression. Her dreams of a different life and a crush on an “American Boy” are in conflict with her father’s desire for an arranged marriage to help the family financially. The desire to assimilate drives Mary. She wants a life where she can have choices, not expectations. Mary discovers letters written between her parents during World War I. The story moves back and forth between her parents’ childhoods, meeting, and their war correspondence, and the life Mary is trying to create for herself. Their youthful goals run parallel to Mary’s. A series of losses push Mary and her parents to start moving toward their dreams. Small details of the Great Depression are woven throughout---from Hoovervilles to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The author’s note details her grandmother’s experiences, on whom the story is based. The back matter also includes black-and-white photos of family members and a list with quotes and historical facts.
VERDICT A compelling story of the tension between children and their immigrant parents and the sometimes conflicting dreams. A first purchase for larger libraries.

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