Sunday, March 22, 2009

Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis

This little book affected me more than I thought it would. It is the story of Mazzy, a girl of twelve or so (it's kind of hard to tell, maybe thirteen?), who is trying to pretend that her life is fine, that she and her mother don't need any help. The story is told in short, staccato sentences, and short chapters, almost verse form, but not quite. It really gave me the feeling of being inside Mazzy's head, which is not always a pleasant place to be.
The story is hard to piece together at first, but you get a better idea of what has happened the farther you go along. There has been a tragedy, involving Olivia, who seems to be Mazzy's younger sister - a character who is obviously no longer in the story. This tragedy has sent Mazzy's mother into a downward spiral of severe depression, so that she no longer gets out of bed or responds to her daughter. Meanwhile, Mazzy's dad got a job offer that took him to another state, so he basically flees, leaving Mazzy to make sense of everything. And in order to protect her mother and herself, Mazzy tells everyone, from neighbors to social workers, that everything is fine.
I really loved this book, although it is very difficult. It is very sad, although there is hope at the end. Ellis does a fantastic job putting us inside Mazzy's brain; from her thought process to the illustrations that Mazzy begins when she breaks into her mom's art studio, you can see how difficult life is for her. This book would be great for a lot of teens, although I would definitely not recommend it for anyone who would have difficulty reading about the tragedy involving a small child. I found it incredibly upsetting, but I guess that's why Mazzy's mom doesn't get out of bed anymore. So, recommended, but with that reservation.

No comments: