My Name is Sus5an Smith. The Five is Silent. by Louise Plummer
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: First published in 1991 this edition published by Dell Publishing in 1993
Recommended Age Group: Ages 15 and up
Summary: My Name is Sus5an Smith. The Five is Silent. is about a girl named Susan who is from Springville Utah. She does not like where she lives and cannot wait to get out. She is a painter who likes to paint new and interesting things, however, her paintings often upset her family who think they are upsetting and weird. To make life and herself a bit more interesting she adds a 5 to her name making her Sus5an. She thinks that this is cool and is making a statement. The book starts out when she is seven with her Uncle Willy swinging her by her wrist and ankle in the backyard. She adores her Uncle and thinks he is the best guy around. That however, really is not true and he ends up abandoning her Aunt Marianne and steals all her plates and silverware. For the next ten years all the family thinks that he is slime while Susan still keeps up her odd fascination. When Susan is in high school she wins a couple of really good awards for her painting and decides that she wants to paint for a living. Her family doesn’t see it her way and they think that she should try to be a teacher. Then Susan paints a family portrait but with her dead grandparents in it as well as they would look if mummified. Everyone is a bit freaked out by it and think that she is weird. It really upsets Susan’s mother and she won’t even talk to her for a couple of days. Susan’s Aunt Libby comes into town because her other Aunt, Marianne the one Willy was married to, is getting married again. While she is there her and Susan decide that it would be a great idea for Susan to stay with her in Boston for the summer. Susan is really excited and can’t wait to leave boring Springville behind. When she gets to Boston she gets a job selling candy at a movie theater and gets her paintings put in an art gallery. While at the open house for the gallery she meets Thomas Roode who is about her age and a fellow painter. They seem to hit it off right away but he is going to Italy for the summer and they promise to write, which they do. However, while in Boston Susan runs into and starts to date her Uncle Willy. Who, in the end she realizes is a really bad guy because he steals all her Aunts stuff and a couple of Susan’s most prized possessions. At the end of the book Susan decides that she is not made out for Utah and decides to live in Boston and end up going to school there and she is still friends with Thomas when he gets back.
Personal Notes: Some of the stuff in the book was a little weird to read, like the part where she starts to date her ex-uncle. However, I am grateful that they never do anything but kiss. It seems to be a great book about a girl finding out who she really is and what she wants to be. It talks a lot about evaluating your life and what your family wants for you verses what you want for yourself. I found it to be a really interesting and fun book to read and would easily recommend it to anyone.