free the pen, a blog for writers

December 10, 2011

Saturday Matinee Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 9:18 pm

ImageI just finished reading Maxine Neely Davenport’s book, Saturday Matinee, Scenes from Oklahoma During the Great Depression. Although this is not a formal history book, Saturday Matinee tells the history of a family, similar to the lives of many families during the Great Depression, who tried to raise their children right, with little resources except for their big hearts. The snapshot-chapters of this family’s life is told through the life of their little girl, Sissy, whom you won’t be able to help falling in love with.

In Saturday Matinee Maxine puts you right into Sissy’s life, her dreams, her hopes, her fantasies and her realities and she has written her scenes with skilled visualization so that you forget you are looking at words and swear you are sitting in a theatre.


You get to watch and experience:

Sissy’s terror as she catches her dress on a barbed wire fence while running from her neighbor who is pointing a shot gun at her for coming onto his peach farm while fantasizing about the whooping her father will give her if he finds out she was there,

you hear her inexplicable sounds as she burns her thighs falling against a hot stove,

and feel the depth of love and sadness as she slips some precious items into her grandma’s casket at the funeral.


Part of me wants to tell it all because even after I put the book down I felt Sissy and her family in my living room but I don’t want to give any more of the story away because you have to read it for yourself. It is a matinee delight.

Maxine has done a marvelous job providing us with characters who come to life in every sentence.  There will be no doubt as you read these clips of this family’s life who they are and what they are like.

If you are looking for a delightful Christmas present for either a teenager or adult, this book is it. Maxine’s style is clear, crisp as a fall day, and poetic.

About Maxine:

Maxine Neely Davenport is a native Oklahoman whose survival skills carried her through college, Oklahoma University Law School, and her present position as fiction writer. She lives in Santa Fe, NM. Maxine can be reached at To learn more about her visit her site:

What I know about Maxine:

She is a woman of grace and tenderness and her book, Saturday Matinee,  reflects that.

Don’t forget to check out my site to see what books I have written:

Until next time,





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