Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Magical Read

On the recommendation from my GoodReads bud, Pam, I ordered To Come and Go Like Magic, by Katie Pickard Fawcett. Thank goodness for that recommendation because I never would've picked up this book with its cover that irrationally reminded me of The Silence of the Lambs (a movie I've never seen, mind you; the ads were enough to keep me up nights).

Silly me. Haven't I learned by now not to judge books by their covers? In truth: I felt the novel tackled well-worn material -- the story of a young girl's first steps out of girlhood -- and the southern setting, complete with veering on cute quirky names (the main character is Chili Sue Mahoney) also had a slightly familiar feel.

Until I finished the first vignette.

And then I knew I was in the hands of a storyteller with heart, an eye for that exquisitely perfect detail and a deft hand with painting her characters. I ADORED my time (much too short!) with Chili and her family -- which is expanding faster than her pregnant sister's belly-- and her friends, even Willie Bright, the "welfare" boy.

Though no one else gets it, Chili has no patience with a future tied to Mercy Hill, Kentucky. When Momma reminds her the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, Chili replies, "I don't care. . . I want to see what it looks like, see if it feels the same and smells the same someplace else."

Through a twist of fate, Chili gets her wish and in learning about that great big mysterious world out there, she comes to see that life is not as stale and stagnant in Mercy Hill as she once believed. And she discovers that the people she thought she knew best end up being the ones who surprise her the most. This book is like a long tall drink of sweet tea -- and some of the sips taste of the sugar -- like when Chili figures out how to mend a broken friendship -- and some of the sips taste of the bitter brewed tea -- like when Chili finds out that someone she truly admired was far from perfect.

On second thought, maybe that cover is a good one after all. It leaves plenty of room for an award sticker or two!

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