As adult women, we often forget how we thought when we were teenagers. And adult men have probably never known how teenage girls think. For both of these groups, it might be a good idea to check out Jackie Moyer Fischerís debut novel, An Egg on Three Sticks, for a little refresher course. The story of a pre-teen to teenage girl (she begins the story at age twelve and ends it at fifteen) in the 1970s, An Egg on Three Sticks is written entirely in the first person from the perspective of young Abby Goodman. Although it takes a while to get into the sometimes uneven writing (Abbyís characters abuses the word "which" horrendously), you soon get used to it and appreciate the way that Abby thinks and talks.
Not only is Abby dealing with the normal things that young girls deal with (friends, school, her younger sister), she also has to deal with her mother, who seems to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Her normally busy and hard-nosed mother has taken to lying down every afternoon and not enforcing rules. The situation comes to a head when Abby comes home after school one day and finds that her mother has tried to commit suicide.
Through her motherís subsequent hospitalization and eventual return, Abby must deal with her strong feelings of dislike for her mother as well as her emotionally damaged sister and her father, who is struggling to be a single father and help his wife. This touching story is made even better by Abbyís voice, which rings true with its uncertainty, confusion and desperate desire to be loved.
The biggest problem I found with the story is the setting. Though the book is set in the 1970s, a time period that was rich with change that could liven up any story, itís barely a factor. Vietnam is mentioned only briefly and nothing else from the time period makes an impact. The author should have either taken advantage of her setting more or just set it in the present time, which would have worked just as well. My only other gripe is the title, which seems to have no meaning whatsoever.
Not only is An Egg on Three Sticks a good novel to help adults relive their childhood thoughts (or help them understand their own teenagers), but it would probably be an appropriate and educational read for teens themselves. An interesting and heartbreaking story, An Egg on Three Sticks is recommended to all lovers of family-style fiction.