The Dream of Doctor Bantam
Jeanne Thornton's debut novel is a love story unlike any other, featuring Julie Thatch, a tough-as-nails, chainsmoking, wise-cracking 17-year-old Texan. Her idol, her older sister, jogs headlong into the lights of an approaching car, and dies. And Julie falls in love with a girl who both is and isn't an echo of her older sister, a long-limbed Francophone named Patrice—who is also a devotee of the Institute of Temporal Illusions, a Church of Scientology-like cult. In Julie Thatch you cannot help but see shades of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. Jeanne's former writing teacher at the University of Texas, Alexander Parsons (author of Leaving Disneyland and In the Shadows of the Sun) writes: "The Dream of Doctor Bantam is one of those books you read every few years in which, page by page, you come to think of the characters as a part of your own dear, weird, and intransigent family. In Julie Thatch, Thornton has written a character as memorable and compelling as Holden Caufield or Oedipa Maas. She is alternately hilarious, maddening, and enchanting, a fearful and fearless smartass who enlivens every page of this fine novel." With illustrations by the author.