Will I really be able to read five books before they are all due? Not likely, given how things have been lately.
But this is what I do. I see books I am interested in. And I pick them up. And I check them out.
And sometimes, I even read them.
This is one of the books I picked up and actually read. And I'm glad I did and did.
This is a new release from an author who has blown me away. Walls also wrote Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle. Both of these were outstanding!
I expected no less from this newest release of hers.
And I was not disappointed.
This is a fictional story of two sisters with a mother who struggles with continual parenting. These sisters are left to fend for themselves quite a bit, and in doing so, have substantial life skills, even at the tender ages of twelve and fifteen. Bean, the twelve-year-old, tells this story from her point of view and experiences the world as a twelve-year-old might.
After their mother leaves them on their own again to find herself or find work or find whatever, Bean and her older sister, Liz, take a bus ride across the country to see their uncle. He doesn't know they are coming and doesn't know what changes are in store for him or for them. He still lives in the small town that he and their mother grew up in. Life in a small town has its own set of rules and the girls must learn them through experience --- some good, some not so good.
We get to see Bean with an unquestioning acceptance of her mother's habit of leaving them with enough money to take care of themselves for days or weeks at a time. And we get to see Bean adapt to a new environment and a new set of rules. And then we get to witness Bean become aware of her mother's behavior as something outside of what most of us would consider "normal family life."
This is a very well-written story of small town injustices and the accommodations people make living in a place that has its own set of morals. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
The author absolutely nails the small town mentality. It is a way of thinking all its own. She knows. She has lived it. She transmits this to the reader with the authority of an expert. And that expert writes it well.
Thankfully, this is fiction. But things like this must happen to some kids out there. Sad as it is.
But this being fiction, there is redemption. Thankfully.
This is another outstanding read from Ms. Walls. It is quick and sad and worth your time.
Ms. Walls is a fantastic story teller. Go get this and read it!