Almost Paradise by Corabel Shofner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“I believe places can heal. I believe science can heal. I believe God can heal. And I believe my hands can heal. It is best to use all of the above to get maximum results.”
Twelve-year-old, Ruby Clyde has a strong voice. She has a strong heart. She’s had to be the parent in the relationship with her mother. Her mother, like a child who needs caring for, and her stinky boyfriend Catfish winds up getting them all in deep trouble with the law.
One morning, Ruby wakes up to find she and her mother are being carted across the country, and her mother’s boyfriend, Catfish, whom she can’t stand, is in control. When he finds out her mother has a twin sister, who’s a nun, he wants to head over there and stay a while. But Ruby’s mother won’t have it. The sisters have been estranged for decades. Taking matters into his own hands, Catfish’s criminal mischief shocks Ruby and her mother to their cores and chaos ensues.
In the scramble, Ruby stays hidden from the mayhem and finds herself alone. The pig they rescued from the IQ Zoo used its leash (nylon pantyhose) to drag her to safety. With nowhere to turn, Ruby decides to go undercover and find her mother’s twin sister. After finding her, Ruby learns that her mother’s been arrested and must go on trial.
I found much to relate to in ALMOST PARADISE. Such a good story about what it’s like to feel abandoned and unloved. But Ruby is tough and she loves her mother, no matter what. We learn much about sacrifice from some of the secondary characters, like Ruby’s aunt Eleanor, the nun and the attorney Joe Brewer. Sprinkled throughout, are tidbits about the legal system and family court. Many references to faith and God, and I suppose with a nun as a major character that’s to be expected.
There are delightful twists, and endearing characters, making this feel true and timely in these important times when children need solace and comfort from life’s hard knocks. And that ending had me in tears!
“People heal each other, and it takes time.”
Expected publication: July 25th, 2017 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
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