by Laura McHale Holland
Laura McHale Holland broaches the subject, suicide, which has long been a taboo subject in western society. The author tells the story of three little girls, herself one of them, coping with the big secret, their mother's suicide. Children back then were not supposed to remember, have feelings or understand. Armed with these presumptions and an iron will, Laura's stepmother runs her charges with cruel rules and chores, forcing the girls to eventually unite against her.
Even though our childhoods were literally a world apart, I could relate to many of the problems of the girls faced. I had a grandmother whom I adored in spite of my mother's interference. There was a dark hole about my paternal grandfather's death of what they called "depression" that was never explained. As for the lack of nice school clothes, I could actually feel the pain of a teenage girl, because I've walked in those shoes.
The author describes, amazingly well, the thoughts and feelings that run through her little-girl mind, never faltering to show us, without being tempted to add an adult comment, the events as they unfold. Her naiveté, coupled with longing for something else, something better, is palpable.
To fill in the adult background, she cleverly interjects the missing information with a number of handwritten letters, from her deceased mother, who as a roaming spirit, watches over them and tries to explain herself.
The book delves into a very difficult subject. Well written and honest, this book makes for a thought provoking read. I am looking forward to a sequel, to find out what happened to the girls after they freed themselves from the clutches of a truly wicked or may be just incompetent stepmother.
Reviewed by Eva Kende
(reviewed 51 days after purchase)