Sunday, January 8, 2012

You are my only by Beth Kephart

Sophie lives a protected life with her mother - a protected life of homeschooling and constant moving to stay away from the "No Good".  Her life is full of history and philosophy as she works through the essays and pojects her mother assigns, and reads the piles of library books that come home from the public library.  It is the only life she has known, and she doesn't know what she is missing - until she breaks the rules and meets the boy next door.  Joey and his family are a source of warmth and comfort, and they make Sophie realise that something is missing from her life.

Emmy is a young mother living through a series of nightmare events - one day she leaves her baby in the swing in the back garden for the few steps it takes to fetch a blanket from the house, but in that short time her baby is gone.  Her husband thinks she is stupid, and more than a little crazy, but all Emmy wants to do is find Baby and bring her home.  Her desperation leads to Emmy being locked away in a mental institution where she still clings to the need to find Baby, no matter what the cost.

Two stories told across time, a girl struggling to make sense of her mother and the way they live their lives, and a young mother who feels the need to find her missing Baby no matter what the cost to herself.  A blending of two voices into a story that twists and turns between the past and present, with two unique and distinct voices taking you along on their personal journeys.

When I picked up this book I didn't like it at first, mainly because of Emmy and her "voice" which comes across as disjointed and clipped, like someone who is very simple or suffers from a mental illness where there is no firm connection to reality.  But in the end the story sucked me in, mainly because once you get used to her voice Emmy is a fascinating character, as is Sophie who seems to polarise between being the dutiful daughter and being a normal teenager.  The story unfolds rapidly and you can't help but connect with the other characters in the book - characters that surround both Emmy and Sophie. 

At times it appears obvious where the story is heading, yet at times it catches you by surprise.  This book will not appeal to everyone because it is a little odd and Emmy will drive some readers to distraction/boredom but I am glad I persevered and finished this book as it was a very satisfying read where you really feel as though you have lived through both their journeys, and the ending while a little abrupt was satisfying.

If you like this book then try:
  • The face on the milk carton by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Whatever happened to Janie? by Caroline B. Conney
  • Held by Edeet Ravel
  • Stolen children by Peg Kehret
  • Girl, missing by Sophie McKenzie

Reviewed by Brilla

1 comment:

  1. I really loved both voices in this novel. I could not put it down. Glad you stuck with it.