Sunday, August 02, 2009

Before, After, and Somebody in Between by Garsee

Readers of Han Nolan's Born Blue, Mary Pearson's Room on Lorelei Street and Helen Frost's Keesha's Place may like this book. A teen aged girl in very difficult circumstances might survive and thrive in spite of it all. Martha is the daughter of an alcoholic mother who has been in rehab more than once and relapsed each time. She always gets out hooked to some guy who is determined to stay straight with her. The guy may or may not be a good male role model for Martha. Wayne, one such guy mom went to rehab with, relapsed with, went back to after another trip to rehab was somewhat violent, physically abusive and encouraged mom to ditch Martha. He moved Martha and her mom into a two flat with him in a tough neighborhood where white girls were few and far between and drug dealing and violence common. Martha connects with a boy her age who lives upstairs and longs to be a scientist some day. They study together, they take care of his younger somewhat neglected brother together til tragedy strikes one day. Money missing from an older brother's stash was intended for members of his gang. They shoot up the house when the money turns up missing and the younger brother is killed. Martha, is hysterical, she stole some of the money perhaps the shooting and baby's death is her fault. She is taken to the hospital where the abuse is discovered and a tough as nail yet compassionate social worker is assigned to the case. Martha is left home alone by her relapsed mom, is discovered alone by the social worker, put in foster care in a less than ideal setting, ends up in a fairy tale foster home she cannot stay in. Returns home to her mom now with a different man. Mom relapses, returns to the abusive Wayne who kicks Martha out permanently. Friendless and homeless Martha turns to the social worker she had previously fought as her only hope.There is no certain future for Martha here, but perhaps there is hope.

1 comment:

Jeannine Garsee said...

Thank you for the review!