Thursday, March 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Book Style

If you're on Facebook, you know that Throwback Thursday is the day people post old pictures of themselves or their families. I decided to look back at a favorite book instead, a book from my younger teen years. I treasure the memory of a few books from my childhood; Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, a book containing biographies of ballet stars called To Dance, To Dream, The Happy Hollister mysteries by "Jerry West", all those orange biographies owned by the library that were about the childhood of famous Americans, and today's book, Gypsy Secret by Florence Crane.

Last year, I bought a copy of Gypsy Secret, and paid more than the cover price of 50 cents for the paperback. The format of the book itself is fascinating. This paperback is the same version of the book that I owned as a teen. The copyright is 1957, the year I was born, and the paperback is a 1963 edition. A note says, "This TEMPO BOOKS edition contains the complete text of the original hard-cover edition, published by Random House, Inc., at $2.95." And, I found a review online from Kirkus magazine, a complimentary review of this teen novel of Gypsies and romance.

Gypsy Secret was one of the first romances I read as a young teen. Now that I'm reading it again, I find I had forgotten the sadness in this book. I remembered it was a story of a Gypsy girl named Randy, and that's about it. Actually, Randy Alvarez was sixteen when her father, a Gypsy King, took her from the Chicago tenement where she grew up with other Gypsies, and took her to Calhoun County, Illinois. He had promised her mother, before she died, that he would take her to live with the Lake family there when she turned sixteen. Gypsy Secret is a novel that deals with prejudice against the Gypsies, a secret Randy never knew, and a glorious horse. As a horse-crazy teen, I don't know if I was more impressed with the horse in this story, or the romance. I do remember, though, that I was fascinated with the Gypsy words and phrases in the book, and the atmosphere of this story. The book had an impact that I've never forgotten.

Gypsy Secret is out-of-print, so unless you can get it through interlibrary loan at the library, it won't be an easy book to find. Even then, it's not going to be easy to find this fifty-eight-year-old teen romance.

Florence Crane's Gypsy Secret is a perfect book for Throwback Thursday - Book Style. Is there a book in your past that you remember fondly? Is there a book you've never forgotten from your childhood?

Gypsy Secret by Florence Crane. c1957. Tempo Books edition, 1963. 254p.

20 comments:

Kay said...

Oh, I loved this post, Lesa. I think you and I have talked about books we enjoyed in our younger days. I am not familiar with this book, but I am familiar with finding a treasured favorite and picking it up to keep. Enjoy!!

Oh, and I loved the Happy Hollisters too and those famous biographies.

Margie Bunting said...

One of my favorites was The Nine Questions by Edward Fenton. It's out of print, sadly (Amazon is selling it for $144.00!), but many years ago I found a less expensive copy for a friend. Most of my mosts-loved books from childhood have a fantasy element--others include The 21 Balloons by William Pene Dubois (so inventive)and The Little White Horse by Elizabeth George. Fortunately, I have paperback copies of the last two that I treasure.

Linda C said...

I loved this blog! I especially loved that you mentioned "orange biographies!" They were some of my all time favorites, along with the Happy Hollisters. Of course I also remember Snow Treasure and Gypsy Secret. I do not remember To Dance to Dream.

Brenda Buchanan said...

I also loved the Happy Hollisters, and read every Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Hardy Boys mystery.

On the non-mystery side of things,
The Little Prince, Black Beauty and A Wrinkle in Time.

And that just scratches the surface!

Miranda James said...

Lesa, for me, there are two. Charlotte's Web was the first book that broke my heart when I was ten. My mother found me sobbing in my bedroom when she came to call me for dinner. I had just finished the book and was bereaved. The second book was the revised text of The Secret of Shadow Ranch, my very first Nancy Drew book. That got me hooked on mysteries for life.

Lesa said...

Hugs, Kaye! Isn't it amazing how our childhood books linger with us so much longer than most books read as an adult? Loved The Happy Hollisters. I have the feeling they wouldn't excite me as much today, but they were my first mysteries.

Lesa said...

And, do you still enjoy books, Margie, with a fantasy element? I'm just curious if your childhood reading affected your adult reading.

Lesa said...

Oh, Linda! It was so good to share those books with you, especially The Happy Hollisters. Those orange biographies were wonderful! And, you missed out with To Dance, To Dream.

Lesa said...

Brenda, I'm sure The Happy Hollisters, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, etc. made us the mystery readers were are today. And, I read and loved all of your non-mystery books as well. Wonderful childhood memories!

Lesa said...

Oh, Charlotte's Web broke my heart as well, Miranda. And, my youngest sister hated it when I took her to the animated movie, and sat there and cried. I still cry over it. I read all the Nancy Drew books I could get my hands on, and while waiting to hear about a job I desperately wanted in my 20s, I only read Nancy Drew books. (I got the job.)

SandyG265 said...

Two of my favorite childhood books were Smoky The Cowhorse by Will James and Kazan by Oliver Curwood. I still have my copy of Smoky, complete with paint spatters on the cover from my Dad painting my room. My copy of Kazan fell apart but I was able to buy a copy when it was re-released in a library edition.

Lesa said...

I know Smoky, Sandy, but I never heard of Kazan or the author. Aren't you glad you have copies of the books you loved?

Lesa said...

I know Smoky, Sandy, but I never heard of Kazan or the author. Aren't you glad you have copies of the books you loved?

holdenj said...

Oh, how fun that you found a copy. I wanted to chime in about Snow Treasure, that was one of my favorites too. And the ones that I miss, that I always look for in used book stores, are the young adult mysteries written by Phyllis Whitney. They took place all over the world and I vividly remember the ones set in Scotland and Japan.

holdenj said...

And both my kids read Snow Treasure for book reports in elementary school. That within the past decade or so, it seems it has still been in print.

Lesa said...

Snow Treasure is still in print, Holdenj, or was at least a few years ago when I ordered a copy for my library. I loved Phyllis Whitney's mysteries for young adults! I forgot about them, but they were terrific.

Colleen said...

I just loved the Mary Stolz book The Seagulls Woke Me. Luckily, I found a used copy years ago. And of course the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books. The books I read during those years in my life are really the ones that have always stayed with me in heart and memory. I believe the books you read in your childhood can shape the person you are as an adult. Reading is such a gift.

Lesa said...

I agree with you, Colleen. It would be interesting, though, to go back and determine how a romantic teen novel about gypsies, all the mysteries I read, a collection about ballet, Little Women, and Snow Treasure, about kids smuggling gold out of Norway on their sleds, shaped me as a person.

Colleen said...

When I was in grad school for my MLS I took a class on Young Adult literature and we wrote our reading autobiography. I ended up being surprised myself by some of the things I wrote, and feelings that were stirred up by the assignment as I thought about the books I had read, what it meant to be "a reader", how those around me perceived my reading addiction, and how it all brought me to where I am in my life today. Try writing one and see what it reveals about you.

Lesa said...

Fascinating idea, Colleen. Thank you!