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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King

As usual, I was blown away by the writing of A.S. King.  It was such a strong and powerful novel about the struggle that kids go through living in an unhappy home.  Sarah tries her hardest to fully understand what is going on in her life while being helped along by both past and future versions of herself.  These characters help guide her through the turmoil while at the same time reassuring her that things are going to be okay.  It is a novel full of heartbreak.  Heartbreak for Sarah as she learns the full truth.  Heartbreak for her brother, Bruce, and their mother for having to have dealt with the worst of the abuse coming from their father/husband.  But in the end it is hopeful.  We have hope that Sarah, Bruce, and their mother are going to find a life of peace and love.  A future where they don't have to be afraid.  A future where they can be original.

From Amazon:

A heartbreaking and mindbending story of a talented teenage artist's awakening to the brokenness of her family from critically acclaimed award-winner A.S. King.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah can't draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has "done the art." She thinks she's having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she's finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can't quite recall. After decades of staying together "for the kids" and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah's parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.

Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of abuse, survival, resurgence that will linger with readers long after the last page.