Divorce is difficult for many families but when coupled with the topic of depression – a mental health issue that continues to be frequently misunderstood – arguably even more so, particularly in this instance when it is parental depression.
Realistic and at times very emotional this is a novel that provides ultimately uplifting resolution and hope for children caught in this particular situation. King explores this twinned theme with finesse and empathy and it is no wonder it has been so highly acclaimed.
Liberty Johansen has dreams of changing the way people look at the sky. Her fascination with the stars and her creative interpretations of constellations have long been her passion, fuelled from an early age by her troubled father.
But when her parents split up and the family is fractured, Liberty sees her world and the stars she loves crashing down around her. Dealing with the aftermath of her mother’s sadness, her sister’s emotional distress and the growing realisation that it has not just been her father’s depression that has caused the rift, Lib also finds herself increasingly alienated from friends compounding her own anxieties.
When Liberty witnesses the rarity of a meteor crashing to earth, she retrieves the special ‘rock’ and it becomes her significant albeit virtual confidante as she struggles to find some equanimity in the increasingly sad family situation as well as her own social life.
As the reader follows Liberty’s year and her working through a mire of misery with the help of her extremely intuitive mother and with the aid of professional counselling – not to mention her conversations and self-realisations with her special ‘rock’, we come to know that while such a family break-down is very traumatic that often, and one might hope usually, the initial emotional rupture begins to heal and a different family life can emerge.
This is a fabulous read in its own right but for young tweens or teens finding themselves in such a predicament could well be a means to seeing their way forward as well.
Highly recommended for readers from around 10 years upwards.
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