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Spotlight on Here at the Scenic-Vu Motel

September 7, 2008

I am shocked and appalled, ladies and gentlemen, to find that there is no image for the cover of Thelma Hatch Wyss’s Here at the Scenic-Vu Motel in Yahoo Images or a Wikipedia entry for Mrs. Wyss herself.  There wasn’t even a picture that I could see when I looked at!  However, I went to Google and that led me back to Amazon for a user-scanned picture.  Here is the book cover.

(I found the book, obviously.)

Here at the Scenic-Vu Motel is the fictional diary (an epistolary novel, I suppose?) of one Jacob R. Callahan, whose Idaho town is so small that he and his fellow high school attendees are put up at the local motel during the week to save bussing costs.  They are mainly the children of former hippies who have dropped out of society to do their own thing, decked out in cowboy hats and with a fond love of John Wayne.

I used to love this book when I was young!  The freedom of being way from your parents at such a young age, doing your own thing!  It was like an extension of the “sleeping at the mall/library/museum” fantasy, except you were allowed that freedom!  Your parents were totally okay with it!

But now that I’m older, I see the book a little differently.  It is still hilarious, sometimes truly laugh-out-loud fun and clever.  But I see the small-town values, the positive role models (especially Jake), the smart choices made from stupid decisions and the maturing of the characters due to this unusual independence.  And I can’t help but think to myself, Where are all the good guys/girls in YA books now?  But that’s a rant for another time.

Tomorrow, when she wakes up, I’m putting this book in my daughter’s hands.  I already saw her eyes light up when I told her about the high school kids at the motel.  I know exactly what she’s thinking–and that’s cool.  Let her see it with her child’s eyes…and then I’ll suggest that she read it again when she’s an adult.

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