Monday, May 2, 2011

Review: Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen

WhistlingTitle: Whistling in the Dark
Author:  Lesley Kagen
Publisher: NAL Trade; trade edition
Date of Publication:
(May 1, 2007)
ISBN-10:  0451221230  
Pages:  320 pages
Format:  Paperback
Setting:  1959 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

About the Book: (from

It was the summer on Vliet Street when we all started locking our doors...

Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the loose. And so is a murderer and molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she's next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

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About the Author:  Lesley Kagen is a writer, actress, and restaurateur. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Peter.  Lesley and Peter have two sons.

My Review:

I check out my copy of Whistling in the Dark from the public library.  I read Whistling in the Dark as the monthly selection for my book club, “Wine, Women and Words”.

Though I was not yet born in 1959, I grew up in small town, USA and had a similar childhood venturing off in our small town.   Nothing ever happens in small town, USA.   I am sure that is how the parents felt that summer in Milwaukee.   The two main characters, Sally and Troo O’Malley were ages 10 and 9.  Troo was a feisty girl with a bit of an attitude.  Sally was the over imaginative older sister who’s job was to look after Troo.   Whistling in the Dark is told by Sally the 10 year old.   I didn’t really feel the voice used to tell the story was realistic for a 10 year old.  I had a hard time getting into this book.  I can’t pin point the reason exactly.  

I didn’t always feel connected to the characters nor did I feel they were that developed.  I didn’t have any real strong feelings for the characters.  I enjoying having an emotional connection to the characters in a story.  I did feel sorry for Sally and the pressure she put on herself to look after Troo. 

Like I said, the beginning of the book was a little slow for me, but the book does pick up towards the end of the book.  The one thing that really bothered me about the book, was the whole mystery.  Sally has all these different ideas about who the killer could be, but in the end it felt to me like the author pulled the identity of the murderer out of no where.   The character was so minor in the overall book.   I like to be able to think back in the story and go, “AAAAH, I should have guess he was the killer” based on the various clues weaved within the story.   That was missing for me in this book.  Whistling in the Dark received missed reviews from my book group.  A few of us finished it and thought over all it was an Ok read. 

My Rating:  3/5 – I finished the book and thought it was ok.

Other Bloggers Reviews:

Booking Mama

Irregular Tammie

Read Them and Eat


Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. yep, this was pretty much how i felt too. it's sad, the book really could have been so much more.

    glad you liked my review! :)