Book Talk: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Date: December 1, 2010
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Description: (from Goodreads)
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.
She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.
Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?
First line: "Claire? It's Rachel. I'm afraid I have bad news."
I haven't read a lot of contemporary. It's a new piece of YA for me but I am quickly falling for it. Fixing Delilah makes me want to read more and more. I wrote a letter to Sarah Ockler on twitter that read something like: Dear @sarahockler, you write pretty words. They made a pretty story w/a pretty boy & a pretty broken girl. I pretty much liked it. Mooo.<3
I think that covers it. Thanks for reading. (kidding)
Sarah Ockler captured the broken life of a separated family, a lost girl, and what it feels like to lose something you don't even know is important--until you realize that thing means the world. The story opens with a call from Delilah's aunt that her grandmother has died. Meanwhile, Delilah is in this world where she doesn't know how to fit or to get what she wants most. From the first pages, we learn that Delilah 's mother works too much and Delilah spends her time stealing, making out with a boy she doesn't really like, and living life just to get by. With that phone call, Delilah and her mother go back to their roots. The thing about roots is that you can't replant them as easily as you can pull them.
Delilah, her aunt and her mother are thrust into their past as they deal with the estate, talk around the important issues and ignore memories that are hidden away in a deep, dark cellar, covered in bubble wrap and taking up space. Delilah wants to know everything that's going on: why her family is broken, why they left Red Falls (her grandmother's home) when she was a child and never looked back, why her mother does what she does and how all of that affects her. She wants to know who she is, where she comes from, good and bad. Surrounded by the past that Delilah doesn't know and the boy that she hasn't seen since she was child, she starts seeking answers.
I like the raw emotions that happen in this story. It's called Fixing Delilah and it's from her POV, but it's about so much more than just her. It's about discovery, how things affect us, how things shouldn't go unsaid. It's about love--in all sorts of forms. This was definitely a roller coaster. Things are high and glorious, things are low. A storm comes, tears apart everything that's good and then there's sunshine.
Sarah does a great job of weaving these beautiful images and emotions into the sentences. There are some really gorgeous words and images that made this story work. There are some cliches in the story--but they work here and most of them didn't really bother me. The only thing I didn't love was the cursing. Some it seemed really out of place (with that said some of it worked!) And whatever happened, there was Patrick. He's the boy next door (literally) and while he's only part of the story, not even a huge part, he's important. He's dreamy. And he's really part of Delilah's journey but not her whole journey. I liked that.
This book was something I could connect with. We all have something in our past or in our family that we talk around instead of fixing. We all have secrets and desires. We all long to find out who we are and where we come from. Sometimes things happen that leave us broken, things that are so old we can barely find the origin, things that destroy us and make us lose ourselves. These times are hard but the getting fixed, the moving past it, the growth and the strength--those are the things that we cling to. Those are the things that Delilah is looking for, too. The question is: where do you find those things?
Maybe Delilah will help you figure it out.
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Source: ARC from NEIBA