Tuesday 7 January 2014

See You at Harry’s

See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles (Walker Books)
PB RRP $ 16.95
ISBN 9781406346077
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Fern at twelve years old feels invisible to her family, especially since the arrival of her brother Charlie, three years ago. When Charlie dies after a fall whilst in Fern’s care, guilt and anguish swallow her up. How does one cope with grief when they are invisible and unable to get the comfort they need?

Fern’s brother Holden is bullied mercilessly on the bus and at school because of his sexual orientation. Sara her older sister, shields herself behind a bad attitude while searching for her place in life. Dad is filled with dreams and plans to expand the restaurant he inherited from his father, while mum has a room she escapes into to find her inner peace.

All these singularly interesting family members are drawn together by their grief. This grief gives birth to hope when they realize that life continues through the desolation of loss, and that love is the only answer.

Beautifully written and held together by fantastic characters, this novel places emphasis on the conflict and issues that confront most families, and their resolution. It simultaneously concentrates on what it is that holds a family unit together.

Often alternately humorous and tragic, this novel has much to say. But it’s what’s left unsaid that gives it a delicate and deeply moving touch.

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