Icy Sparks

Audio Book (CD) | April 4, 2001

byGwyn Hyman RubioRead byKate Miller

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An Oprah's Book Club selection

Set in Appalachia during the late 1950s, this acclaimed first novel chronicles a young girl's heartbreaking battle with Tourette's syndrome.

Ten-year-old Icy Sparks already has one strike against her: She's an orphan. Life becomes even more difficult when Icy develops strange symptoms: violent tics, inexplicable convulsions, sudden outbursts, and uncontrollable cursing that accompany her rare neurological disorder. Her affliction goes undiagnosed until adulthood, but the all-too-visible signs are the source of endless mystery and hilarity as everyone around offers an opinion about what's troubling the girl. Eventually Icy finds solace in the company of Miss Emily, who knows what it's like to be an outcast in this tightly knit community.

Narrated by a now-grown Icy, this novel shimmers with warmth and humor as it recounts a young girl's painful journey to womanhood. A funny, sad, and transcendent story, Icy Sparks introduces a fresh new Southern voice.

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From the Publisher

An Oprah's Book Club selectionSet in Appalachia during the late 1950s, this acclaimed first novel chronicles a young girl's heartbreaking battle with Tourette's syndrome.Ten-year-old Icy Sparks already has one strike against her: She's an orphan. Life becomes even more difficult when Icy develops strange symptoms: violent tics, inexpl...

GWYN HYMAN RUBIO has been nominated for a Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award and is a winner of the Cecil Hackney Award as well as a recipient of grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.Kate Miller is a stage, film, television and voice-over actress. She is perhaps best known as the voice of "Debbie...

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Format:Audio Book (CD)Dimensions:1 pages, 5.72 × 4.8 × 0.97 inPublished:April 4, 2001Publisher:Highbridge CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1565115139

ISBN - 13:9781565115132

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The diagnosis of Tourette's Syndrome isn't mentioned until the last pages of Rubio's sensitive portrayal of a young girl with the disease. Instead, Rubio lets Icy Sparks tell her own story of growing up during the 1950s in a small Kentucky town where her uncontrollable outbursts make her an object of fright and scorn. "The Saturday after my [10th] birthday, the eye blinking and poppings began.... I could feel little invisible rubber bands fastened to my eyelids, pulled tight through my brain and attached to the back of my head," says Icy, who thinks of herself as the "frog child from Icy Creek." Orphaned and cared for by her loving grandparents, Icy weathers the taunts of a mean schoolteacher and, later, a crush on a boy that ends in disappointment. But she also finds real friendship with the enormously fat Miss Emily, who offers kindness and camaraderie. Rubio captures Icy's feelings of isolation and brings poignancy and drama to Icy's childhood experiences, to her temporary confinement in a mental institution and to her reluctant introduction?thanks to Miss Emily and Icy's grandmother?to the Pentecostal church through which she discovers her singing talent. If Rubio sometimes loses track of Icy's voice, indulges in unconvincing magical realism and takes unearned poetic license with the speech of her Appalachian grandparents ("'Your skin was as cold as fresh springwater, slippery and strangely soothing to touch'"), her first novel is remarkable for its often funny portrayal of a child's fears, loves and struggles with an affliction she doesn't know isn't her fault. Agent, Susan Golomb; editor, Jane von Mehren.