Monday, April 2, 2012
Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank
Appalachian mountain life isn't like city life. Family is what is important and, as long as you have love, you have enough. But Lydia's family suddenly falls apart...
Delacorte Books for Young Readers allowed me to read an egalley of this book (thank you). It's being published April 10th, so you will be able to grab at your local bookstore soon.
This story touches your soul. Lydia loves her Gran, her Mom and her brother, BJ. They harvest their own food, live the simple life, sing, sew, and enjoy their cabin and life in general. The first sign that things are changing is when Gran dies in her sleep. Death is natural part of life but it's hard to accept when it's your loved one.
BJ has cystic fibrosis and it takes its toll on him. Soon he needs to be hospitalized. The doctor helps them find a hospital that will treat him for free to study the disease. Mom has to sign the paperwork to get him in treatment but she doesn't understand all the words and they pressure her into signing. When BJ gets near death, they bring him home to die in peace. The real trouble begins when the hospital contract forbid that. Mom goes to jail.
This is a honest look at mountain folk who live a simple life. The author makes the pain and heartbreak Lydia feels authentic and memorable. What's Lydia to do with no family? How's she going to go on? The answer to this is part of our life lessons we learn as we mature. The good news is that Lydia doesn't have to go alone. She has family and friends that will help support her.
Lydia speaks in the voice patterns of the mountain folk which adds to the impact of the story. The author made me care about Lydia. This is a very good read; you ought to try it for yourself.