Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

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Pearl Spence is finally getting used to life in Michigan. She’s made her peace with the piles of snow that come with winter. She and Ray are making friends and figuring out how to fit in. Pearl has even discovered the library, a place she’d never heard of back in Dust Bowl Oklahoma. In fact, a chair in the stacks, surrounded by books, might be her new favorite place on earth— until she discovers swing dancing.

Now Opal Moon, the family’s hired help and an expert in swing, is teaching Pearl the steps to this new style of dance. The sheer fun of the moves and music is a distraction from the fact that Mama is still missing, too caught up in her own grieving to spare a thought for her family.

When Mama unexpectedly returns, it isn’t a happy occasion. Pearl must decide between forgiveness and bitterness—and when calamity strikes again, there are no easy answers.

Finkbeiner’s portrayal of both tragedy and everyday life in times of great change is charged with a raw beauty that will haunt the reader. Fans of the two prior Pearl Spence novels won’t be disappointed!

My Thoughts:

In this third book of following Pearl Spence’s young life, we pick up shortly after the second book left off. Pearl is in a new town, new school, new home, her mother has left the family so the only constants she has is her father and Ray who came with them from Oklahoma to live with them. Pearl has gone through a lot, especially for a young girl. I could understand her wanting to find some happiness and stability after the tragic circumstances of the first two books. I like that she has found a respite in the library and the books she begins to read and in Opal and dancing.

There are some heavy topics in this story and they deal with depression and prejudice. I am glad that Pearl’s father, although very hurt by his wife, continues to be a strong steadfast character and though it was not easy for him, he chooses to love and keep his promises and vows to his estranged wife. Mama is not quite the same person she was in the first book. I was sad to see this change in her; however grief has a way of changing people for the good or the bad. I think the author showed a very real picture of the damage that grief, shame, and blame can take on a person’s mental health and on their life choices. Sometimes this causes loved ones to ask, where is our loved one and can they come back home?

I found this book, this whole series a thought provoking lyrical tale of a young girl coming of age in less than ideal circumstances. I would really like to see a novel written about Pearl all grown up.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

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