Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Save a Life

What do you do when your "normal" is no longer anything like it used to be?  How do you give your child the best life you can when you barely know what a good life is to begin with?

Jill has yet to truly deal with the death of her father but her mother, Robin, seems determined to move on.  The first step is cutting off her long hair. Jill has been doing some cutting off too...herself from everyone around her including her friends, her boyfriend, and her mom.  Then her mother decides she needs a new life and wants to adopt a baby. Enter Mandy, a pregnant teenager whose own mother was emotionally absent from her raising her daughter.  Mandy and Robin meet online and decided to do a private adoption, with Mandy coming to live with Robin & Jill for the last few weeks of Mandy's pregnancy.  With all the new people in Robin's life, Jill feels that she obviously isn't enough for her mom and shows her displeasure with the situation by giving Mandy the cold shoulder.  That is, until after a few short conversations with Mandy where things don't seem to add up.  Indeed, Mandy has been hiding some things from Robin and the closer she gets to her due date, the more Mandy starts to question her decision to give up her baby.

Only Sara Zarr could take a situation as hopeless as this sounds and make it completely amazing.  Each chapter alternates between Jill and Mandy, which at first had me siding with Jill and being completely annoyed by Mandy.  Yet somewhere about 3/4 of the way through the book, I realized that Mandy was completely a product of terrible parenting.  Her naivety still bugged the heck out of me, but I didn't want to roll my eyes any more.  Actually the person who bothered me the most was Robin.  She's supposed to be this highly intelligent and sensitive woman, but she has no idea how to grieve with Jill.  She just grieves near Jill and completely leaves her out of any attempts to move forward in their life as mother & daughter.  But I know the storyline wouldn't have the tension that it did if Robin hadn't been written this way.  In the end, I loved Mandy even though she still kinda seemed like a dumb blond and Jill was still a little bit spiky, because hey, people aren't perfect.

*This book was sent to me by the publisher - anyone who comments by February 22nd will be entered in a drawing for the book!

1 comment:

  1. I've heard so much accolade for this book. I haven't read any of her books before, I'm looking forward to checking it out soon.