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In her heart, Nina Goldman knows that beauty is only skin deep. But as a teenager growing up in Akron, Ohio – with her larger-than-life father Artie, a colorblind carpet salesman and frustrated musician – the only thing Nina wishes for is…to be beautiful. Or at least normal. As if having such an eccentric dad wasn't enough, Nina has another issue to face: the mirror. Born with a strawberry birthmark over her eye, Nina spends countless hours applying makeup and trying out ridiculous hairstyles designed to hide her eye. Convinced that her birthmark is the only reason she's not popular and can't find a boyfriend, Nina must find other ways to survive high school.
Renee Rosen's Every Crooked Pot will send Nina on a string of crazy exploits that have her riding in dryers and appearing on TV. Through it all, Nina proves she'll do just about anything to fit in, and even more in the hope of finding love.
Written in the form of a memoir, this absorbing first novel traces the struggles of a disfigured girl growing up in Akron, Ohio, mostly during the '70s. A blood vessel abnormality makes Nina Goldman look like she's recently been punched in the eye. Bullies at school call her "Big Eye Little Eye," and although her aggressively optimistic salesman father assures her that "every crooked pot has a crooked cover," Nina fears she will never be loved. As much as she hates her appearance, Nina also learns early on, "I could use my eye to get out of things, too, and make people do things for me." Particularly memorable is Nina's father, a frustrated musician who sells carpet for a living even though he's color-blind. His efforts to find a cure for his daughter result in endless trips to medical experts and in treatments that turn out to be less than miraculous. As Rosen evokes her setting with a wealth of details, she runs into a trap: the same well-chosen references (to Peter Frampton, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Beatles lyrics, etc.) that anchor the period and illuminate the characters may also distance teens. Those who remain will empathize with the narrator's unique situation as a concentrated form of universal worries about finding acceptance, dealing with loss and leaving home. Ages 13-up.