Thursday, October 23, 2014

MG Realistic Fiction: The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer


From an early age, twelve-year-old Grace decided that her grandma was 
mean.  What other explanation can there be for why she kicked her mother out when she was pregnant with her? Grace and her mother have been moving around all of her life.  Stick pins on a map show all the locations that they've been to so far.  But, Grace thought that mom had finally found a home with Mrs. Greene and Lacey, at least it was starting to feel that way to her. However, mom got to pacing and said it was time to move again.  Grace doesn't stand for it and tells mom that she isn't going, leading mom to go for a walk and have a terrible accident by the river bank.  Grace is then told that she will be living with her grandmother, when all she wants to do is stay with Mrs. Greene and Lacey. Initially, Grace tries everything possible to make grandma send her back to Mrs. Greene, but grandma pays her no mind.  As Grace begins to explore the town and go to school, she see's signs that she thinks are clues left by her mother leading her home.  What she finds is possibility. 

The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a very beautiful and sad story.  The loss of a parent is a very emotional time and Grace has alot of changes to deal with very quickly. Grace is lost, trying to make sense of everything that has happened. She separates everything into the "before" and "after" of her mother's death, and she is struggling to hold onto those feelings and thoughts from before. Holczer approaches the subject with a great degree of sensitivity and the emotions and thoughts that Grace has seem appropriate given what little information that her mother gave her about her own past.  Holczer also does a remarkable job of rooting you in Grace's setting, giving you the feel of a small town where all are grieving right along with her.    I enjoyed the symbolism behind Grace's treasure hunt and how it was a means of helping her cope with her mothers death and find her home.  Even little things like how the spoons represented "utensil's of comfort."   An honest portrayal of the death of a parent and the emotions that follow presented with lots of heart and feeling.      

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