This is a book that I won with the Canadian Book Review Challenge last year. I have been reading and reading these 2 books. Now it is time to review the first one and then the second one.
This is a GREAT story. It is heartfelt and heartbreaking. It is a novel that has the right balance of story and backstory to ensure that the reader stays interested.
When twenty-two-year-old Marla finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she wishes for a family, but faces precariousness: an uncertain future with her talented exacting boyfriend, Liam and constant danger from her roommate, Dani, a sometime prostitute and entrenched drug addict. Her brother, Gavin is also needy. She brought him home for the first time from the deaf school, and finds him really hard to handle.
Marla’s fetal alcohol syndrome carries her through her difficult time. But it is dangerous for the baby and for her. When Marla loses her job and breaks her arm in a car accident, Liam asks her to marry him. It’s what she’s been waiting for, a chance to leave Dani. But Dani doesn’t take no for an answer. Marla stays strong when he mother shows up dunk, creates her own terms when Dani publicly shames her, and then falls apart when Gavin attempts suicide.
Then came a flood when the Bow River overflows from a of pelting rain, flooding Marla’s entire neighborhood. She wants to give her new child so much more than she can right now. So, Marla asks for help and keeps her mind open. She transforms everyone around her, cementing her relationships and proving to those who had doubted her that having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder doesn’t make a person any less noble, wise or caring.
This is a story where the drama is thick and the stakes are high. It is story telling at its best.