This is the coming of age story of Mimi Miller. Her family lives in their namesake valley, a small, unassuming town where everyone knows everyone. Mimi enters into her teenage years in the 1970s a local battle is waging over the land where she lives. Constantly flooding, it has become apparent to the higher ups that the valley should be flooded, and the state government has been after landowners for years trying to buy the property so they can set such a venture in motion. Mimi’s family, among others, is refusing to sell, and tensions flare as the possibility of being forced from the only home they have known for generations becomes very real.
As much as Miller’s Valley is about local politics, it’s also not. Mimi experiences the same jubilations and downfalls as any other teenager, and we experience her as she treads through a difficult friendship and also as she enters into her first romantic relationship.
It’s hard to describe how quiet and self effacing this book is. Mimi is more of an observer, so we get to see her life through her eyes as she discreetly goes on from day to day. I was utterly rapt as I hastily read to see what would happen next, despite the fact that Miller’s Valley wouldn’t be referred to as a plot driven book.
I have only read one other book of Quindlen’s, Black and Blue, and it was so long ago that I don’t remember it at all or even whether I enjoyed it. I hope her other books are as great as this one and I look forward to seeking them out.