Some people just shouldn’t be parents.
Seriously. That’s what kept running through my brain throughout this whole book.
Twelve-year-old Addie has spent her whole life waiting for normal. She almost had it, once, when her mom was married to Dwight, and her two half-sisters were just born. But then her mom, who’s an “all or nothing” sort, divorced Dwight, and abandoned Addie and her two sisters. True, it was only for three days, and Addie was managing things OK, but she told Dwight, and the state took her sisters away from her and her mom gave custody to him. Which was OK, except the money he sent to Addie and her mom never seemed to go very far, and they ended up in a trailer on the corner of a couple of streets, underneath a train overpass.
Which was OK; Addie made new friends with the owners of the gas station next door (and at school) and was doing fine. Except it just wasn’t normal. She wanted to be with her sisters, and with Dwight — who was reliable, unlike her scatterbrained mom (which is really too nice, to be fair, she’s probably an undiagnosed bipolar) — but she also felt a responsibility toward her mom. And Addie’s just finding it hard to be torn like that.
Leslie Connor captures all this pain and heartache and hope in such simple and eloquent language, you can’t help but hope for Addie at the same time your heart is breaking. Addie’s so resilient, and as the reader, you can see her hope and faith and optimism just shining through. Even when she can’t. My heart broke for her so many times while reading this — how can anyone be so selfish and unthinking? — and yet, this was more than just another Bad Mom Book. (Though it was that.) Connor takes something that is so horrible and so difficult and infuses it with humor and light (and yes, it does have a happy ending) to take the edge off the difficult situations this child has ended up in by no fault of her own.
It’s a hard book to read, but a good one; one that will make you want to discuss and think about all the suffering children out there. And one which will make you grateful for all the good you have in your life.
Rated: Mild, for a couple of uses of mild language, and the situations of extreme poverty and neglect.