When Cairo (named after the city) Hays decides to put her terrible plan into action, it's
not without a lot of thought beforehand. She's always been more of a thinker than a doer,
anyway, especially when it comes to questions of life (hers or anyone else's). She asks
herself: Is it caring or is it meddling if she tries to stop her older sister, Heather,
from marrying Allan Allen, professional protester and an abusive jerk? And if Cairo succeeds,
does that mean she's in control or just a pawn in the hands of fate? And what about helping
Aunt Lucille, who's desperate to lose weight? Suddenly Cairo seems to be acting outside her
usual realm in new ways, in particular when Rocky Nevin is around. Rocky has a few thoughts
of his own about life, and those gorgeous eyes of his seem to Cairo to make the meaning of
life worth searching for. The sixteenth year in the life of Cairo Hays is an eventful and
expansive time. Her struggles to find answers to the big questions are more than
insightful--they're often surprisingly hilarious! Norma Howe writes with unusual candor
in her delightful new novel.
With a name like Cairo, she's destined to be a little different. But what excuse do the other
people in her family have for being so . . . well, weird? Her mom's a bingo fanatic. Her
dad's into collecting PKGs (that's patented kitchen gadgets). Her aunt Lucille has a serious
eating problem. Her older sister, Heather, an astrology freak, is threatening to marry a
violent environmentalist. These people need her help!
Sixteen-year-old Cairo feels as though she's the only one (besides her dog) with any sense
at all--until she meets a soul mate in the handsome and worldly-wise Rocky Nevin. They talk
passionately about Vietnam, root beer, tennis, and purpose of existence. Rocky's taking his
time, but Cairo's certain he's worth the wait. Because as crazy as life is, things seem to
have an even crazier way of working out....
Excerpts from Reviews
School Library Journal - October, 1989
The anecdotal plot and breezy narrative will appeal to readers with short attention spans,
yet those seeking more substance will be satisfied by the skillfully delineated evolution of
Cairo's new philosophy of life. A sparking gem replete with nuggets of wit and wisdom.
Publishers' Weekly - March 24, 1989
A flurry of names, dates and moments in time are intricately textured into a rich, realistic
portrait of a young woman's life.
Sassy Magazine (Christina Kelly) - August, 1989
So fab I devoured it in one day. And it's all written in a casual, minimalist style that is
tres engaging. Check it out.
The San Francisco Chronicle (Janice Green) - September 24, 1989
Sacramento writer Norma Howe creates rare heroes--exceptional people who happen to be in
their teens. (The) writing is so invisibly smooth that big ideas, such as the question of
free will and scientific arguments against astrology, are absorbed with little effort.
The Game Of Life is an exceptional novel...
Booklist - October 15, 1989
The best thing in the book is the funny, thought-provoking attack on astrology...(and)
readers will enjoy the romance as well as the cheerful view of a well-adjusted teenager
in an extended family and community.
San Jose Mercury-News - November 26, 1989
For fans of "RAMONA": Cairo Hays, heroine of The Game of Life by Norma Howe, strikes me as
a teen version of Miss Quimby--just as curious, just as humorous, just as endearing. Howe
(writes) in a pleasant, just slightly off-center style.