Monday, May 12, 2008

Book Review 1: How I Saved My Father's Life (And Ruined Everything Else)

Back at the end of March I attended the Read-A-Palooza event at Thompson Middle School which featured author Ann Hood discussing her new book, How I Saved My Father's Life (And Ruined Everything Else). I've just finished the book and it was fantastic!

"So how did I, Madeline Vandermeer, fairly normal girl from a fairly normal family, decide to become a saint? Well, when I saved my father's life, I somehow managed to ruin everything else. Now my life was all upside down, and frankly, I needed something to happen. If I performed just one more miracle, I believed I could fix everything and become a saint."

Twelve-year-old Madeline believes she can perform miracles. And her biggest one to date is saving her father from an avalanche. But, unmiraculously, he divorces Madeline's mother after his recovery, writes a book about the avalanche, becomes a celebrity, and marries Ava Pomme, a renowned tart maker.

When he leaves, Madeline is left with her mother, who is slowly coming undone; her hypochondriac little brother, who spends his days worrying about air-bag safety; a house that is falling apart around her; and no clue how to perform the miracle that will fix it all.

Amidst ballet lessons, insufferable recipe experiments for her mother's Family magazine column, and a life-changing trip to Italy, Madeline learns the true meaning of faith - and family.

I really enjoyed How I Saved My Father's Life. I loved that it was set in Providence, RI. It's so much fun when you know the streets and the buildings that the author is writing about first hand. Madeline is a very relatable character - funny, smart and sympathetic. She's very angry with her mother over the divorce and it's not really fair but it was easy to understand why she felt that way and it was all the more rewarding when she realized that divorce is never as simple as finding one person to blame. Madeline's journey towards accepting the divorce and loving both of her parents is an enjoyable ride filled with ballet, good friends and an amazing trip to Italy! Highly recommended!

Ms. Hood will be speaking and signing books at Island books on Wednesday evening (the 14th) so stop by, say hello and be sure to pick up a copy of this book!

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