I loved the first half of this book. Tillie is an insightful and imaginative child coping with a difficult home life as best she can, desperately holding on (or inventing) any good moments her family has:
“The parade music jiggled my insides, and lifted the hair up on my arms. I wanted to be the girl with the pom poms tied to her shoes, jabbing a baton at the sky. I danced along behind my father, danced to the womp-womping of the tuba, the wild drumming. I trotted with fancy steps, keeping my eyes on my father’s hand, held out to the side with his fingers spread apart. If I could only catch up, I knew he’d take hold.” (pp. 20-21)I was completely drawn into this story: it was one of those books that I itched to pick up again as soon as I put it down. Although I didn’t totally identify with Tillie (I was definitely a “good girl” as a child, while Tillie is constantly getting into trouble, both at home and at school), I could certainly identify with her loneliness and sense of alienation.
Unfortunately, midway through the book, my disbelief came crashing down around me: what happened to Tillie’s mother didn’t seem plausible to me, and as Tillie unravelled the events of that year, she no longer seemed believable as an eight-year-old narrator. One could argue that Tillie was only metaphorically eight years old—that at some level the adult Tillie was trapped in that traumatic year when everything changed—which would explain her mature thinking about what happened to her and her mother. Although this does make sense, I still can’t quite buy some of the plot twists. However, despite my disappointment at where the story goes, Henderson has crafted an absorbing debut novel, and I look forward to reading whatever she writes next.
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with this book to review.
Up from the Blue was on blog tour with TLC Book Tours in September and October. Visit these other blogs for reviews:
The Zen Leaf • Sara’s Organized Chaos • Musings of a Bookish Kitty • Reviews from the Heart • Rundpinne • Books Like Breathing • In the Next Room • Raging Bibliomania • Life in Review • Peeking Between the Pages • lit*chick • Booksie’s Blog
A Musing Reviews • Bibliophilic Book Blog • Booking Mama • Dan’s Journal • Fizzy Thoughts • Hey, I want to read that • KellyVision • largehearted boy • Literary Kicks • my books. my life. • The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog • The Book Pirate
Excerpt from the first chapter of the book: The House with the Blue Door
Two of my favourite quotes: Teaser Tuesday (on my blog)