Synopsis for Vivian Lee's:
The Invisible Girl On Ames Street
This engaging memoir is about Vivian, an impoverished young girl who lived in a small apartment on Ames Street in Saginaw, Michigan in the early 1960's. As the readers follow her many adventures, daily challenges, spiritual hopes, and fantastic dreams, they soon realize that Vivian's story is even more relevant now than it was in that era.
From the first chapter when readers begin to learn of the clever ways in which Vivian's vivid imagination shields her from the harsh realities of her life, to the final chapter where they experience the sorrow of the innocent nine-year olds' shattered childhood and eviction from her home, Vivian invites them to see the world of poverty through the filters of a hope-filled green eyed youngster.
Written in her unique style, Vivian's message will be received differently by a variety of audiences. Some young readers will enjoy her as a character in an almost fictional way. As she roams the streets, railroad tracks, and buildings of Saginaw, youngsters will experience the day-to-day life of a "free-range child". They will read in Chapter 12 Summertime Swimming: "There were skills we acquired as "children of the streets." We learned where the public bathrooms, water fountains and places to get out of the elements were located. We discovered all of the shortcuts and alleys and knew which businesses had front doors and back doors that allowed us to cut through city blocks.
Traveling this joint adventure with Vivian may help school-age children see their peers through kinder more tolerant eyes.
Those seeking a career in social work, teaching, and community service will benefit with a new insight to hidden trauma and hopefully develop skills to recognize the subtle ways that children are affected by poverty. Through the discussion questions at the end of the book, these mature readers will be encouraged to develop ideas to help the vulnerable children overcome life's obstacles.
The reader learns in Chapter 24, Cold And Hungry, that for children living a life of trauma, sometimes the simple act of survival is their biggest accomplishment: "With red legs, arms, hands and a face framed with wet hair from melted snow, I entered my classroom ill prepared to face a day of learning. The rest of the class chatted and laughed with each other; oblivious to the frozen expedition I had once again endured. Although I was about to face another day of failed classroom lessons, I had survived another trek to school. Survival was my sole victory.
Adult readers of all ages will be enchanted as they relive their own memories of the early 1960's. From the non-stop references of tunes on her AM radio, schoolyard games, children's toys, newscasts, television show, and movies, Vivian takes the hand of the readers on her never-ending search for Walt Disney, God, Communists, and food.
From Chapter 16 Influences Wonderful World Of Television: Through the curved glass I went to Mayberry to visit my "brother" Opie. I was entranced by my "real mom" June Cleaver and bonded with my "other brother" Beaver, in Mayfield. I learned about life in the west through the shows Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Wagon Train. Donna Reed and Harriet Nelson taught me about family life. Hazel taught me that a maid is the smartest person in a house. Perry Mason showed me that innocent people are often accused of horrible crimes but the guilty people always confess in the end. Each week I experienced the magic of Disneyland through Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Captain Kangaroo read to me in the mornings and Mitch Miller used his bouncing ball to sing with me in the evenings. I learned that the world is a dangerous place through the alarming images on The Hunkley-Brinkley Report.
This is book more than a memoir, it is a call to action. It is an invitation for everyone to realize that they can make a difference in the life of another human being. It is a timeless story whose