Set in rural Illinois in the early 1950s, Plenty Porter follows the youngest of eleven children. Twelve-year-old Plenty is an atypical bookish child: she has no trouble speaking her mind, and her outspokenness leads her to a perspective unique from that of her siblings. The Porter parents are working class but – owing to her unintentional acquaintance with their landlord’s shy son, Ed – Plenty is granted the privilege of attending private school. The two children find friendship with one another but are social outcasts.
Plenty’s discoveries, made as she tries to understand the meanings of events in her life, evoke simple truths and connections that only childish innocence could find. Grieving the death of her favorite pet, she first finds religion of little help, then – through an unrelated event – she’s able to see religion as a tremendous comfort. And only Plenty could use Pavlovian means to reunite her estranged mother and grandfather.
Author Brandon Noonan uses Plenty’s humor to great narrative advantage, and scatters gems for the future writers among his readership. Plenty Porter is a very satisfying novel, evoking this simpler era with fondness and great sympathy. Plenty Porter is an unforgettable character who truly comes to life on the page. Ages 12 and up.