Anne Lindbergh •
Nobody’s Orphan •
Given her lack of resemblance to anyone in the Albright family, and a suspicious dearth of baby pictures, Martha is convinced she must have been adopted. Surely her real parents—not these impostors she lives with—would allow her to have a dog! In fact, her birth father is probably a dog trainer, not a diplomat who gets posted to far-off countries for months on end.
Martha’s wishes are partially answered when she finds a stray black lab and names it Ronald Reagan. (Ronald turns out to be a girl.) Next she acquires a surrogate grandfather in Amory Able, a neighbor who cooks banana-salami stew, yells “Poppycock!” when anyone disagrees with him, and misattributes every quote from his vast repertoire to either Robert Service or Calvin Coolidge.
Martha is a wonderful character—stubborn, funny, and full of trenchant observations. “You have no idea how effective throwing up can be,” she tells us after Kermit, her little brother, has done just that. Urged to become more sociable, she retorts, “It’s better to have two really deep friendships than to play fast and loose like Kermit.”
But Martha is always on the brink of one calamity or another. “Before I even open my eyes, I think of whatever trouble I’m in, which is usually a lot.” Her scheme to raise money for Christmas presents backfires when her mother discovers she’s sold off the contents of the Albrights’ living room. She has to write her sevens tables on her fingers to keep from flunking fifth-grade math. And now her best friend-turned-enemy, Parker, is suddenly popping up everywhere she goes.
Anne Lindbergh, the older sister of Reeve Lindbergh, demonstrates the family writing talent with lively scenes, strong characters, and a delightfully unexpected conclusion.