by Frances O'Roark Dowell
narrated by Denise Wilbanks
New York : Random House Listening Library, p2003.
Maddie grew up happy, even though her mother left her and she didn't know who her father was. For awhile, she lived with a dear old woman she called Granny Lane, until diabetes made it impossible for her to care for a child. Now living in a home with other children from various home situations, Maddie meets the new girl, Murphy, and thinks they might become friends. She has no idea how much of an impact Murphy will have on her life and that of some of the other children in the town.
I read this story once before, but it was maybe seven years ago and I'd completely forgotten what happens. Denise Wilbanks' narration has a Southern lilt that helped me remember that the story is set in Tennessee, another detail I'd forgotten. Where I'd Like to Be perfectly captures the tensions, worries, and joys of childhood friendship as Maddie, Murphy, and their friends go to school together, play together, fight and make up. Maddie narrates so we have her perspective perfectly, while her descriptions of the others' actions give us insight into their points of view as well. In some ways, I was reminded of The Egypt Game, though the imaginative stories of these children are much closer to home, so to speak. Listening to the audio, I missed some of the details either by being distracted or because the reading was drawn out over a week, but I've made a note that I want to read it again.