Bitsy's Labyrinth

Mary Andonian. Good Thief Press, LLC (www.goodthiefpress.com), $11.99 trade paper (198p) ISBN 978-0-9831075-0-7
In this largely successful spiritual coming-of-age story, 13-year-old Bitsy feels ignored by her mother, who spends her time helping fellow recovering alcoholics, and by her remarried father, who reneges on promises to visit. She is also alienated from her older sister, who has taken up drinking and smoking. Bitsy's mother, who prays as she walks the labyrinth she built on their lavender farm, explains that she uses it to contemplate problems while walking, and gives the problem to God when she reaches the center. Though Bitsy is skeptical, she too talks to God, asking for help with her family issues. After her best friend Gina gains a sense of calmness from the labyrinth, Bitsy becomes frustrated. In a melodramatic turn of events, Gina's mother, who is battling cancer, dies of a bee sting while walking the labyrinth, after which Bitsy attempts to set it on fire. Andonian has a nice handle on dialogue, and Bitsy's narration, with its gently sarcastic sense of humor and embarrassment concerning her mother's outspoken faith, feels genuine and contemporary as the story makes its way to an upbeat conclusion. Ages 12–18.
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 12/01/2010
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 978-0-9831075-1-4
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