Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Keep the Ends Loose by Molly D Campbell---A Review


Miranda Heath is a quirky fifteen-year-old with cinematic dreams and a safe, predictable family. That is until she decides to pull at the loose end that is the estranged husband her aunt never divorced. What seemed like the best way to allow her aunt to get on with her life sets off a series of events that threaten to turn Mandy`s world upside down. Suddenly, she`s embarking on adventurous road trips, becoming the center of an increasingly unstable household, meeting surprising strangers, and seeing everyone she knows in new ways. Sometimes loose ends just want to stay loose. But what happens if they want to unravel completely?

Warm, funny, and uniquely perceptive, Keep the Ends Loose is an irresistible novel filled with characters you might recognize - and will not forget.


I will always remember that exact moment. There we were, in our kitchen: big and square, with black-and-white linoleum. We sat at the red Formica-topped table (Mom is very vintage), and the sun was pouring in from the window over the chipped old farm sink (again, vintage: Mom is a flea marketer extraordinaire). As a matter of fact, the sun was kind of blaring into my eyes and making a big bright stripe down the middle of the table where Mom drummed her fingernails like castanets or something.

Here we were, having what I thought was just a regular afternoon. Mom had put out a plate of my favorite molasses cookies. Sidebar: these cookies are to die for. They are big, soft, and chewy. Just a little bit spicy and full of raisins. She sprinkles granulated sugar on top before she bakes them, so they are both soft and crunchy. I must learn to make them before I leave home.

I thought we`d just be kind of chewing and chatting, you know? Happy teen with her favorite sugary fix, passing the time with her mother. But then Mom hit me with Frank Fletcher and Don Horley and Aunt Iris.

"Mom, Mom, Mom! Back up! I grant you, Aunt Iris seems to have a thing going with Don Horley. Who wouldn`t? For an old guy, he is pretty ripped, and bald men with muscles are very nice. But this is none of our business."

Winnie straightened up in her chair and adjusted her apron (the one with the cherries and red rickrack on it. You know, vintage). She gave me what I`d have to describe as a very steely look.

"Mandy, your Aunt Iris isn`t getting any younger. This whole thing about being happy living all alone in a gilded cottage is something out of one of her British WWII novels. It`s not enough."


Molly D. Campbell is the winner of two Erma Bombeck writing awards. A long-time blogger and lover of quirky characters, she wrote her first book, Characters in Search of a Novel, with illustrator Randy Palmer.

Molly lives in Dayton, Ohio, with her accordionist husband and five cats.


Oh the mistakes we make when we are young and learn from the repercussions..   Hopefully, they are not mistakes that will at some point rear their ugly heads and destroy the lives we have been fortunate to live.

That is the long and short of this humorous novel, Keep the Ends Loose, as told by fifteen year old Miranda Heath.  Nicknamed Mandy, we learn that she enjoyed being a teenager and was in no hurry to grow up.   Her fifteenth summer had other ideas in mind for her young life and those of her brother, Adam and her best friend, Barley.

Campbell's character based story thrives with well rounded characters that are as realistic as you or I.   They have made mistakes, lived with them and tried to rectify them.   And as usual, Murphy's Law prevailed.    The story is further spiced with Campbell's quirky sense of humor and told from a teen's naive perspective.   The story is easily read and flows smoothly.

In particular, I enjoyed Mandy's loving descriptions of her father, the pharmacist, and her Aunt Iris.   I enjoyed most of the conclusions the three teens arrived at during this one long summer and felt that the story reached a satisfactory ending.

I rated this a 5 wink read and enjoyed this story immensely.

 Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a copy of this book from the author or their representative in exchange for an honest review.

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