Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review - Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

There aren't many books that make me cry, but "Alice Bliss" by Laura Harrington is one. This "coming of age" novel really touched my heart.  Here is my review -

Alice Bliss is 15 years old when her father, Matt, enlists and is deployed to Iraq. Alice is devastated, but it is up to her to hold her family together while he is gone. Of course it's stressful for her mother, Angie and her eight-year-old sister Ellie, but to Alice, it doesn’t’ seem it can't possibly be as hard for either of them as for her as she was very close to her father, sharing many interests and dreams.

In Laura Harrington’s novel, “Alice Bliss,” the author tells the story of how war comes home to affect the families that are left behind to hope and pray for their loved one’s safe return. In a brilliantly presented narrative, Harrington gently but firmly conveys the story of the anguish that so many are going through.

Through the eyes of Alice, she shares how the family copes while Matt is away. The family tries to go on with their life while waiting for letters and phone calls from Matt whenever it’s possible.
Mom Angie immerses herself in her work and younger sister Ellie tries to bring a bit of attention to herself by changing her hair and learning definitions of long words. Alice wears one of her father’s shirts daily to be surrounded by her father so she doesn't forget him, and carries on their tradition of planning and planting their annual garden. She joins the track team to run and forget her troubles, and relies heavily on her childhood best friend, Henry, to get her through this most difficult time.

The family is plugging along until the day when two soldiers arrive on their doorstep with the news that Matt is missing in action. As the family anxiously waits for the military to contact them saying that they found Matt, each one, along with Henry, their uncle Eddie and their grandmother, realizes that they must turn to each other for support in this time of grief and uncertainty.

“Alice Bliss” is an emotional coming-of-age tale that is heart wrenching, and yet also holds elements of warmth as Harrington conveys the importance of family closeness in times of hardship and crisis. She handles difficult emotions and situations with grace and this is reflected in her storytelling. Adults and teens alike will be touched by this novel.


Mary said...

Wonderful review, Sharon. I can't wait to read it!

BookJunkie said...

Thanks for your review! I think I'm going to check this one out! I'm in a little bit of a rut, genre-wise, so this sounds great!

Cozy in Texas said...

This sounds like a good read, but I don't think I could handle it.

Beth Hoffman said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Sharon! I did too. Happy summer, girlfriend!

Sharon said...

It was a very emotional story, but the author did a great job of presenting it. Thanks for stopping by!