Verdict: Julia Park Tracey’s carefully edited memoir gives modern readers an insight into the universal challenges and triumphs of teen life through the eyes of an enthusiastic young girl. This is a fast read that will pull at the hearts of readers of any age.
I’VE GOT SOME LOVIN’ TO DO is the true story of life as teen girl in Portland, Oregon in the 1920s. Julia Park Tracy’s edited collection of the diaries of her great aunt, Doris Bailey Murphy, written in 1925-1926, offers some insight into the life a sixteen year old girl searching for adventure, romance, and friendship while still living under her parents’ roof. The diary begins on Doris’ sixteenth birthday and, in the following months, she sees that she is “beginning to rebel. I crave adventures. I want to live. Not merely exist.” As the 1920s hit their height of prosperity, she struggles between finding this adventure, particularly focused on the many boys with whom she finds herself completely in love, while also trying to maintain a respectable reputation.
This diary shows that although many of the customs of the 1920s differ from today’s norm, the feelings of a young girl are hardly different at all. Doris’ spunk and excitement for life grow throughout her entries spanning a year and a half during her development from a child into an adult. She spends her time with her closest girlfriends, charming boys, swimming in the summer, and going to dances while also struggling to please her strict father as she tries to find her way in life at a new school across town. Readers will connect to Doris and the feelings she pours onto the pages of her diary while hoping that she will find the man of her dreams, a challenge, for any girl of sixteen. As Doris writes in 1926, “Love is life. Life is love,” a sentiment that rings true to any generation.
Julia Park Tracey’s carefully edited memoir gives modern readers an insight into the universal challenges and triumphs of teen life through the eyes of an enthusiastic young girl. This is a fast read that will pull at the hearts of readers of any age.
Reviewed by Jessica Schwartz for IndieReader.