Lemniscaat USA/juvenile fiction
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Olivia is ten years old. Her first big problem is that her mother has died. The second big problem is that her father doesn’t really know how to go on living.
Olivia and her father’s home is a small boat sitting in the garden of a barbershop. “Temporarily,” says her dad. But how long is “temporarily?” Olivia is in a new community, going to a new school, and has to figure out on her own how to grow up with the new normal of no mother and a father who is physically present but psychologically distant. Olivia is strong, though, and shores up both her home and her family with an incontrovertible sense of humor.
Smart for her age and vulnerable, brave and funny – Olivia will steal your heart.
Following a long tradition of fictional children who have lost a parent, 10 year old Olivia becomes the adult who cares for her father. He is so heartbroken over the loss of his wife, he can do nothing but pick up and move to a new town where he weakly attempts to go on with life. It is Olivia who is concerned when the laundry isn’t done, Olivia who enrolls herself in school and Olivia who makes sure they eat. Dad cries, drinks and cries a bit more.
This is not an inspirational tale. It is a sad look at a young girl who has had her entire life turned upside down. The author tries to leave with the thought that Olivia’s mother will always be there for her, but it just seems to serve as a reminder that Olivia’s life is being guided by outside forces over which she has no control.
My verdict: Caution! This is not a “one size fits all” book for kids. It deals with adult themes- death, sex, tobacco/alcohol use, bullying and adultery, to name a few. I recommend this for the mature and thoughtful child, and then only after review by a parent. There are readers who will identify with Olivia and her plight, but I am afraid that most will just carry away a veil of depression.