Strong for Potatoes follows Blue Willoughby as she grows up in eastern Maine. Blue was one of twins, but her sister died a few days after the girls were born and has haunted Blue ever since. She herself was severly injured in an accident which ended her brief career as a child movie star. This accident haunts her too, as do memories of Maria, her make up lady and guardian during her movie days. Blue's parents are difficult and she turns to her grandfather, a Passamquoddy Indian who teaches Blue how to track wild animals and inspires her to take up basket making, a craft that she learns to imbue with her own distinctive style.
Blue struggles to find her own true identity, as a part native American, as a crafter, as a disabled woman. She also needs to find a true companion as she struggles to leave behind her memories of her sister. Will it be Brian, her childhood friend, Darrel, the handsome boy who takes her to the Prom or Leonora, the beautiful woman whose dog has died?
This is a beautiful, moving novel, that introduces the reader to Passamquoddy culture while exploring human relationships with a great deal of sensitivity.
Strong for Potatoes by Cynthia Thayer, published 1998 by St Martin's Press
For the LGBT Reading Challenge