Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush by Virginia Hamilton
Theresa (Tree) is walking home from school when she sees a real fine man standing off to the side. He's so good looking she's sure she's in love. Unfortunately, he turns out to be a ghost...
Open Road Media and Net Galley allowed me to download this ebook to read for review (thank you). It will be published on the 15th of this month.
This is a mentally "heavy" book. I was moved by the story and learned about a new disease I had never heard of before. While this is written for young adults, I'd recommend that parents read this and be prepared for some discussion after the child has read it. I know this would be one I'd want to talk to my Mom about if I was reading it as a teen.
Tree finds that the fine young man she was admiring is actually her uncle. He's come to visit to help her understand what happened in her family in the past and what is happening in the present, too. While Tree and her brother can see Brother Rush, her mother cannot. She's also not happy about the experiences Brother is sharing with her children.
Tree has an older brother, Dabney, but he's mentally challenged and physically ill. She's his caregiver because her mother works away and only comes home on weekends. The family is doing its best to survive, but it's hard.
The disease is porphyria. Here is the explanation from the Mayo Clinic site: "Porphyria (poor-FEAR-ee-uh) refers to a group of disorders that result in a buildup of chemicals called porphyrins in your body. Although porphyrins are normal body chemicals, it's not normal for them to build up. The cause is usually an inherited mutation."
This disease has killed her mother's brothers in the past and it may be what is wrong with Dabney now.
Such hardships create trauma and upset in a family. Ms. Hamilton spares no one's feelings and writes a vivid heart-rending story that keeps your attention. It ends with sadness and hope and Tree knows she will go on in life and be strong. After all, she learned that from caring for Dabney.