Book Review: Call Me Amy
Publication Date: May 15, 2013
Publisher: Luminis Books
· Marcia Strykowski
by Ross Brand
Published: March 5, 2013
Call Me Amy is a coming of age story set in the small coastal town of Port Wells, Maine in 1973. The titular character, Amy Henderson, is an introverted 8th grader dealing with many problems typical for girls her age. She’s self-conscious about her image, often lamenting her stringy hair and acne. She feels bullied and intimidated by her older outspoken sister Nancy as well as the “popular” girls in her class. And if these things weren’t bad enough, her only real friend moved away a year ago and has not been a faithful pen pal.
Amy’s situation begins to improve after a chance encounter with Miss Cogshell, the large elderly woman her classmates refer to as “Old Coot.” Kids say she’s crazy or a witch, but Amy soon learns that Miss Cogshell is nothing like the mythical character her classmates claim her to be. Not long after Amy begins paying Miss Cogshell regular visits, Craig, the “bad boy” in her class, decides to entrust her with a surprising secret.
Preteen girls especially will identify with Amy’s transition from childhood to adolescence. First-time novelist Marcia Strykowski describes the sights, sounds and smells of the little fishing village admirably. However, the characters seemed more like stereotypes than real people, and the teenagers’ dialogue in particular sounded very forced and unrealistic. For fans of realistic fiction and coming of age stories, Call Me Amy may be an enjoyable read, but I would recommend the works of Jennifer Holm, Rebecca Stead, and Ruth White.