Saturday, September 04, 2010

North of Beautiful by Headley

I read this book because it is popular with teens. This is a multi layered story with several well developed characters. It includes a flawed but loving mother who is utterly wonderful to find in a book and is ever so realistic. Terra has a port wine birthmark across a large portion of her face. She has been stared at a lot over the years and her family has taught her to hide behind her hair and behind thick layers of makeup, they also uncomfortable with this fault. Father is verbally abusive, mother eats too much and cannot at first stand up to his abuse which wasn't always true. Terra's brother is working in China and invites the family to visit even providing them with tickets. Terra's mother and Terra are both artistic. Their activities have lead them to meet a young man Terra's age and his mother. They too had been planning a trip to China. Even though Terra's father refuses to go, Jacob and his mom encourage the pair and all four head to China. This is a learning trip for Terra in many ways. She comes to understand what she values in a relationship, she begins to appreciate herself and define herself by her strengths rather than by the port wine birthmark and to understand why her family acts as they do, all hiding behind something by their dysfunctional actions, working too much, eating too much, criticising too much, wearing too much makeup. The adventures in China were wondrously descriptive as well. This book is worth the trip.

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