First, I need to tell you that working with the GPS today caused me to recall the book immediately. Delilah, who is battling with her distant mother is in the car with the GPS guiding their turns. Del refers to the GPS as something belonging on Planet Monotone where everyone is tranquil and directionally adept. And that, in a nutshell, is a wonderful metaphor for the communication between Delilah and her mother at this point at the beginning of the story. Del's mother is a workaholic who has paid little attention to Del. In response, Del has been acting out a little; her last action was to be caught shoplifting a lipstick. Her mnther had to drive to get Del. The way her mother tells the story sounds suspiciously detached, rather like the GOS woman. What Ockler does in these opening chapters is show readers the lack of communication and the frustration that causes both Del and her mother.
The two of them are in the car together for a trip to the old family home. Del's grandmother, someone she has not seen in years, has died. Now Del and her mother and Del's Aunt Rachel are heading home to confront some demons. As she did in TWENTY BOY SUMMER, Ockler is exploring the terrain of loos: loss due to death, loss due to distance, loss due to disconnection. All of the Hannaford women are dealing with some sort of loss, and dealing with it poorly. Perhaps this summer back at the lake, back home, will change how each relates to those they love. <489>
Ockler's characters are complex. Readers do not know all of the back story though some is provided in bits and pieces allowing them to fit them together for a more comprehensive picture of how each has arrived at this point. Problems are not all neatly resolved. Some remain to be tackled. FIXING DELILAH will be a book enjoyed by young women who can relate to Del's conflicting emotions about her mother and her entire family.
Ockler is one of the authors targeted in the Missouri censorship challenge. Support #SpeakLoudly and buy and read FIXING DELILAH as well as TWENTY BOY SUMMER.
I have ity on good inside information from the vivacious and well-shod Victoria Stapleton that there are a few ARCs available. Send emails to: LBYRGalleys@hbgusa.com.