Leave a Crooked Path

Simone Paradis Hanson. Shadowlight, $10 trade paper (158p) ISBN 978-0-692-74557-1
At a mere 150 pages, Hanson’s short but significant debut is bittersweet and powerful. Fourteen-year-old Claire Au Clair and her younger sister, Grace, live in a close-knit French-Canadian community in Maine with their “impenetrable” German-born mother, Marie, and their creative, passionate, angry alcoholic father, Frank. Set during a summer in the 1970s, Claire’s memoirlike account is deepened by several poignant flashback chapters revealing her childhood with her complicated and recalcitrant father. Mature beyond her years, Claire’s largely matter-of-fact tone, devoid of self-pity, is reminiscent of Jeannette Walls’s voice in The Glass Castle. Hanson’s beautiful imagery is worthy of note—“The better part of our grief was gone, seeped into the earth like a wave spread thin across the beach, disappearing before the tide is able to pull it back.” There is just enough humor to balance the despair; Claire’s wry comments convince us she has not lost hope nor should we, even in the darkest moments. Though readers might feel like the ending is wrapped up too quickly and neatly, it’s easy to empathize with Claire, her family members, and her community. In the end, Hanson’s sensitive portrayal allows readers to walk away from the story believing forgiveness transcends sadness. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 04/17/2017
Release date: 07/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 158 pages - 978-0-692-74559-5
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