Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Happened to My Sister by Elizabeth Flock - "Throwback Thursday" Review

A "Throwback Thursday Review" is either a book I read way back when but didn't write a review for whatever reason (usually, probably forgot ... oops...) or it is a review on a book I got but then didn't get around to reading until now (again, usually, probably just forgot).

Up this week is What Happened to My Sister by Elizabeth Flock. This is another one from my long list of ones I read back in 2012 right before it came out but then, for some reason, never wrote a review for it. 

What Happened to My Sister
by Elizabeth Flock
Published: August 2012
by Ballantine Books

From the author of Me & Emma comes a dazzling novel of two unforgettable families bound together by their deepest secrets and haunted pasts—perfect for fans of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and The Book of Bright Ideas.

Nine-year-old Carrie Parker and her mother, Libby, are making a fresh start in the small town of Hartsville, North Carolina, ready to put their turbulent past behind them. Violence has shattered their family and left Libby nearly unable to cope. And while Carrie once took comfort in her beloved sister, Emma, her mother has now forbidden even the mention of her name.

When Carrie meets Ruth, Honor, and Cricket Chaplin, these three generations of warmhearted women seem to have the loving home Carrie has always dreamed of. But as Carrie and Cricket become fast friends, neither can escape the pull of their families’ secrets—and uncovering the truth will transform the Chaplins and the Parkers forever.

My review:
Get the box of Kleenex for this emotional read. Carrie and her mother are relocating in order to have a better life. Only things really don't seem to be any better, and it doesn't look like they will improve anytime soon. Carrie has memories of a sister but doesn't remember what happened to her, but her mother tells Carrie that she is imagining things and forbids her to talk about it. Carrie and her mother end up living in a run-down, seedy motel, and Carrie is usually left alone in the room. They have very little money, and Carrie does without a lot, even food. It is absolutely heartbreaking to read about this little girl eating things like dirt and clay pots just to ease the hunger pangs.

What Happened to My Sister is very touching. The characters were great, and the story was engaging. Carrie is one of those characters that grab a hold of your heart and burrow their way in. I first read this story 2 years ago (I don't know why I didn't write a review back then), but I have found myself suddenly thinking of it over the years. The Chaplin family is quirky and loveable. Perhaps they didn't see the obvious abuse that was right in front of them at first, but very few people really do. What really did happen to Carrie's sister? You will be left guessing until the end. I would without a doubt recommend this book to anyone. 

A copy was provided for an honest review.

About the author:
Former print journalist Elizabeth Flock reported for TIME and PEOPLE magazines before becoming an on-air correspondent for CBS News. Her acclaimed debut novel, BUT INSIDE I'M SCREAMING, chronically the psychological struggles of a young television reporter in New York, was released in 2003. Her second novel, ME & EMMA, became a New York Times bestseller and was an Indiebound (formerly Booksense) Notable Book of 2005. EVERYTHING MUST GO, Elizabeth's third novel, loosely based on a clothing store in Connecticut, was published in 2007. Elizabeth's books have been translated into seven languages and published in twelve countries. 

Her fourth novel, SLEEPWALKING IN DAYLIGHT, came out in 2009, and was chosen as an Indie Next List (formerly Booksense) title.

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