Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

There are two incarnations of Oprah’s book club: the first phase chick lit series, and the second phase lit lit series. This book is from the first phase. I also assume that this is one of the books that led to the second phase. I do like chick lit: it is fun, fast, and engaging. It’s not that this book wasn’t all of those, but it also just wasn’t that great. The subject (a girl in the South during the 50s suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome before anybody knows what that is) is much stronger than the story. I bought this book at a thrift store but I am going to pass it off to my mom.



Rural Kentucky in the 1950s is not an easy place to grow up, and it’s especially hard for ten-year-old Icy Sparks, an orphan who lives with her grandparents. Life becomes even more difficult for Icy when violent tics and uncontrollable cursing begin – symptoms brought on by a troubling affliction that goes undiagnosed until her adulthood. Icy’s adolescence is marred by the humiliation of her illness, and its all-too-visible signs are the source of endless mystery and hilarity as everyone around her offers an opinion about what’s troubling the girl. Eventually, Icy finds solace in the company of Miss Emily, an obese woman 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 humour as it recounts a young girl’s painful and poignant journey to womanhood – and the many lives she touches and enriches along the way.