Monday, December 14, 2015

Becoming Ellen by Shari Shartuck ~ Book Review

This is the follow up to Ellen's story that began with this book.  I really enjoyed the first book and so when I saw it was on order at my library I put a hold on it right away and was first in line.  So glad I did that because this one was just as enjoyable of a read as the first.  It continues Ellen's story of slowing coming out of her shell and reaching out.  Her deepening friendship with Temerity, who's is perfectly named by the way, and Temerity's brother Justin, continues to be a safe place for her.  Their understanding and unconditional love and acceptance help Ellen to try to step beyond the very high walls and the reclusive invisible life she had built for herself.   But when she is confronted with the dire straights of two young children Ellen must face her own childhood of abuse and neglect and come out of her "invisibleness in order to help these kids.   Of course, watching from the shadows is not Temerity's style and before Ellen knows it she is being once again drawn into Temerity's whirlwind.  And things are once again happening at work which cause Ellen to have to make some decisions about being an onlooker or doing the right thing.

  It's hard to review this book without giving away what happened in the first so that's about all I'm going to tell you plot wise.  It is imperative to the reader, I think, for these two books to be read in order.  The first one laid all the foundations of Ellen's reclusive life and the uphill battle she has to overcome for all the years of working on making herself invisible.    I, once again, really felt for all the main characters of this story.  The reader sees a vulnerable side to Temerity in this one that wasn't yet revealed in the first book and we are given access to where she and her brother have learned their compassion and acceptance for others.  We continue to see how hard it is for Ellen to overcome everything she has been through and move beyond the social awkwardness but cheer her on when she is able to take those small steps to do what to the average person would not think twice about.  The book deals with various kinds of child abuse that just makes me ill to think about but the author, I thought, treated it with as much "gentleness" and care as was possible and still be able tell the story.   There is nothing gratuitous in the telling.  There was one part of the story that deals with Ellen and Temerity and the inured mother of a little girl that just sort of didn't ring quite true with me, the trust factor seemed very rushed to me, but again to say more would reveal the story.

Though I thought the first book had more humorous touching moments this one was just as good but in a different way.  It takes us deeper into the heart as more of Ellen and her childhood is revealed.  It explores an extreme side of the foster care system which I'm sure is not the norm.   I was just as emotionally invested in this story as the first.  

It was a 9 out of 10 for me.

Reading Challenge Goals Met:  A book published this year,  a book by a female author

1 comment:

Deb said...

Sounds like a good book- I will look for the first one and then go on to this one! Have a great week!