My Dad never seems to stay down for very long. He told me on Friday that he had a nice talk with a lady, while waiting in the radiology department, about his work as a Deacon in the Catholic Church. "No matter what," he said, "There is always reason for joy and gratitude."
Now before you start thinking my Dad is a Saint, he can be irascible, outspoken and argumentative. But, I'm thinking, if I was battling cancer and forced to lie in bed with needles in my arm, I don't know that the words "Joy" and "Gratitude" would enter into conversation often. But maybe they would. I am his daughter after all.
|The book has received five starred reviews!|
Joy and gratitude don't seem to enter into Sara Zarr's book How To Save a Life, at least not at the start. Mandy arrives on the scene first in an email to someone about an arrangement she and that someone have made. The email is purposely vague but the reader guesses that Mandy is promising her unborn child to someone, provided that the whole thing is done the way Mandy wants it done. In that email Mandy sounds clever, demanding, even wily.
Then we meet Jill, 17, and grieving for the death of her father about a year before. She is angry and has spent a lot of time pushing people away. She is neither joyful NOR grateful that her mother, Robin, is opening their home to a pregnant teen and adopting that teen's child.
This is the story of three women, what they want, how they mesh and how they clash. Jill's suspicions about Mandy's intentions fuel a lot of the plot. Mandy's first person accounts soon turn her into a sympathetic character. Robin soldiers on.
This is the story of three good women. And the ending - well, maybe joy and gratitude find a place in there somehow.