Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A stunning review from "Bri Meets Books"!

I was blown away by this gorgeous and heartfelt review today. 

Thank you, Bri, from the bottom of my heart. 

The Healing Spell


Sometimes you find a book, sometimes it finds you. The Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little is one of those books.  Rich with grief and hope, it tore me apart and made me sob.  Its resounding theme of the mother-daughter friendship, that really struck a chord.  As you may know, I recently relocated to Ohio from Florida. I left my mom for the first time over 13 hrs away. And as the holidays approach,  I’m missing my mom more and more.

Eleven year old Olivia or “Livie” has a secret that’s greater than the whole bayou in which she lives.  Her mother’s in a coma and only Livie knows the real reason why. But she can’t tell anybody, so she waits for the secret to swallow her whole.  Maybe she’s better off that way anyhow, as she tries to find her place as one of three girls. Not young and girly, like the oldest, Faye, and not small and cute, like the youngest, Aimee (or Crickett, as she’s better known).  Livie would rather go frogging or take her boat up the bayou before put on a dress.  When her mother comes home to recuperate at Livie’s father’s insistence – while still in a coma – Livie seeks the advice of the traiteur, a healer who lives in a house up the bayou all alone, in hopes she can offer a healing spell.   And what Livie finds is faith.

I read it pretty much cover to cover in one day, because it was so good. All the details of the bayou just suck you in, until you hear the cries of the bullfrogs for yourself.    Hats off to Little’s research because it must’ve been exhaustive or done in person to get this nice authenticity.   I love the clean writing with full sentences capturing this soft and quiet bayou mood.
“The dark blue truck looked like a bruise in the dark.” pg. 1
“I stepped back into the front room, and the air seemed as thick as old molasses in a dusty canning jar.” pg. 12
“My chest got so tight it felt like a gator squeezing my heart between its his jaws.” pg. 1
Livie’s so scared of who her momma has become, she can’t bring herself to touch her or aid in her care.   Crickett climbs right up on the bed with their mother, and Faye does her makeup, so she doesn’t look too ghastly to the neighbors. But Livie won’t stay with her because it’s all her fault.    Livie’s guilt was a hefty burden for a character to carry, and Little portrays this really well, as Livie remembers her mother in happier times, and all but tears herself apart for the circumstances that led to her mother’s coma.  Through the novel, Livie displays real growth and learns of forgiveness, not just for her own choices, but her mother’s for Livie.
While the crux of The Healing Spell is a mother-daughter relationship, and there are some lovely relationships in the novel.  Faye is a a nice respite from the bossy older sister of MG fiction, with her stern but still sisterly ways. There were several tender moments between her and Livie.  Crickett is adorable and the scenes where Livie’s father takes her frogging or they paddle in Livie’s pirogue are touching.  They reminded me a bit of Pa and Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie with the gruff father who’s so tender with his little girls.
The Healing Spell is a resounding tale of faith and love and most of all, forgiveness.  It’s a tribute to that sometimes rough yet powerful relationship between a mother and daughter, as each tries to cast the other in an assumed role.   The Healing Spell is a must read for any mother or daughter.

Copy for review provided by Scholastic and The Teen {Book} Scene.  Thank you!  

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Title: The Healing Spell
Author: Kimberly Griffiths Little
Date: July 2010
Level: Middle grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Hardback
Pages: 354

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David P. King said...

Such a nice review! I'm glad to meet another author with a cool set of books already out. I'll be sure to pick one up when my WIP is finished.

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Thanks so much, David! And thanks for following me, too. I have so many new folks here and need to go follow y'all, too!



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