Source: ARC from Little, Brown and Company
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
After the announcement of her grandmother’s death, Delilah and her mother travel to Vermont to deal with her funeral and aftermaths. Delilah finds old memories and scars hidden throughout the old house where she spent her childhood and rekindles her relationship with her childhood friend Patrick.Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler is reminiscent of her debut novel, Twenty Boy Summer with its emotional intensity and sublime romance. Ockler once again weaves a tragedy effortlessly into the story that blooms.
Delilah is a well-rounded character that portrays the teenage mind of angst, love sickness, and confinement. She is a phoenix rising from the ashes and into the fire while retaining that level of self-respect, but self-destruction as well. Curiosity killed the cat, and the curiosity in Delilah may kill the relationship she has with her mother. Fixing Delilah delivers an important message of talking and discussing with others and not the unnecessary words to fill the silence—“How was school”. With Delilah, readers can see a sister, a daughter, or a friend in their life. She is that unlikely heroine that sticks with you after the novel is finished.
Another pro to Ockler’s work I have read is her seriousness with friendships. There is an equal balance between the two friends: Delilah and Emily. They can gossip, squeal, and turn to one another when some surprise strikes and—dare I day?—BFFs. Instead of this over consuming need to please one another that I find in some YA lit novels, Emily and Delilah can argue and, get this, apologize. Shocking isn’t it?
However, what I had trouble with Fixing Delilah is the relationship of Patrick and Delilah. In my opinion, as others will definitely vary, the relationship relied heavily on the fact that they were childhood friends. It acted like a crutch in the first steps toward the romantic edge where the interactions didn’t match the pace. It was just that one hurdle to jump over—the first meeting turned something more—that had me concerned. (Looks to lust to love?) Once I got comfortable within the story I felt more comfortable about the sizzling attraction.
Despite the elements and components of chaos there is a lingering soothing undertone to Fixing Delilah. On the other hand, the soothing undertone can also be considered the missing spark, a need to read, an addiction factor that lacked throughout the novel. For that Fixing Delilah is a great read, just not the best of reads. It is though a wonderful tale of self-identity and the spoken words.
On a very, very side note I love the presentation of the book, from the willow tree to its branches throughout the chapters to the leaves as the page numbers. In some ways I am sad about the change of covers but that was completely obliterated when the new cover was presented.
|odd cover and title|