Monday, May 15, 2023

A Song Called Home, by Sara Zarr

Lou and her sister Casey have a hard time adjusting to the changes brought on when their mother decides to get remarried and moves them out of the city and into the suburbs.  Their new stepdad Steve is a pretty good guy, but for the girls things were fine the way they were.  They had their school and their best friends.  Also, after dealing with their father's drinking problems, they don't exactly have a lot of trust.  Gradually, the family comes together.  A guitar, left for Lou on the doorstep (presumably by her father) provides a central theme to tie everything together.

The characters are all excellent, but the efforts of Steve to break through to the girls and Lou's complicated relationship with her sister were really the best parts. It's a busy book. In addition to the various challenges that each character faces in living together, there are some pretty serious topics raised, including alcoholism, co-dependency, and classism.  Casey acts out the most, but Lou picks up a habit of stealing  from family and friends (a problem which is never fully addressed).

While covering very little new ground, Zarr's story is well-written and a delight to read.

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