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April 23, 2014

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Pick of the Day: See You at Harry’s (Audiobook)

star Pick of the Day: See You at Harry’s (Audiobook)see you at harrys Pick of the Day: See You at Harry’s (Audiobook)See You at Harry’s. By Jo Knowles. 5 CDs. 5:49 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4558-8958-7. $49.97.
Gr 7 Up–Twelve-year-old Fern is quiet and conciliatory, and often taken for granted. Left to take care of whatever the rest of the family members are too busy to deal with, she feels alone and resentful. Dad is constantly trying to boost business for the family restaurant, Mom is always escaping to meditate, Sarah is spending an embarrassing post-high school gap year working in the restaurant, and Holden is teetering on the verge of announcing his sexual orientation. The glue that holds the family together is three-year-old Charlie. Everyone’s biggest joy, and sometimes Fern’s biggest pain, Charlie’s uninhibited glee in life keeps everything in perspective. Then, while in Fern’s care, a freak accident takes Charlie’s life. What starts out as a wonderfully realistic look at growing up in a semi-dysfunctional middle-class family turns swiftly into an equally realistic portrait of profound loss and guilt. Knowles’s novel (Candlewick, 2012) takes us step by painful step through the days leading up to the funeral, the day of the funeral, and onto the impossible process of getting back to “normal” life.  Kate Rudd gives a brilliant performance as, through the eyes, heart, and soul of Fern, she gives voice to the full breadth of grief experienced by each member of the family. Listeners are taken through every stage of the dark, heart-wrenching grieving process with throat constricting immediacy, and then led slowly back into the light. A beautiful, if painful, story delivered with remarkable clarity and sensitivity through an exceptional performance.–Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA

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