Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: Fixing Delilah

Sarah Ockler
Years ago, Delilah and her mother used to spend every summer in the small town of Red Falls, with her grandparents. That was before her mother's "perfect" job came along though, and before the fight that broke out eight years ago, sending Delilah and her mother away from Red Falls for good. Or at least, until her grandmother dies and the remaining family (Delilah, her mother, and her aunt Rachel) has to come together to plan a funeral and sell their childhood home. Along the way, Delilah finds herself falling for her childhood friend and digging into the mysteries her family has kept under wraps for years -- the fight that broke them apart, the aunt that died before she was born, and the grandmother she hardly remembers.

Honestly, I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The premise here is absolutely amazing: a confused girl trying to fix her relationship with her mother while at the same time dealing with her grandmother's death and searching for answers to questions that have been buried for far too long. It's incredible. Sadly, other elements of the book didn't live up to this fantastic premise. The plot, though well-written, moved much too slow for me, and I was iffy about many of the characters. While Delilah's mother and aunt were definitely keeping things from her, Delilah often seemed melodramatic in how she handled things and looked at situations, which was never really addressed. And while many of the characters were likable, few of them truly stood out to me. While Delilah's relationship with her mother was the primary focus of this book, the relationship that I really enjoyed reading about was the romance that started up with Delilah's childhood friend, Patrick. Their scenes, especially the jokey dialogue, really added to the story and their relationship was a bright spot among the (understandably) heavy relationships in the book.

I loved the themes that Ockler explored in this book: family, history, and the secrets people keep. Delilah's need to uncover the truth about her family's history was understandable and relatable, though I often wanted more focus on this part of the story and less on the sale of her grandparents' house and the Delilah's new friendship with the girl at the coffee shop. Really there was a lot here that worked really well, and I know that many others will adore this book, but for me it lacked that something, that indefinable spark that makes me love a book.

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