Sunday, July 23, 2017

Almost Paradise.

25453065Shofner, Corabel. Almost Paradise.
July 25th 2017 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Ruby Clyde's mother hasn't been quite right since Ruby's father was killed in a robbery, which sent her mother into premature labor. Because of this, Ruby never really celebrates her birthday, but this year she has bought her own cake. Unfortunately, her mother's boyfriend Catfish decides to take the two from their home and travel to California, stopping along the way to rob a convenience store. Catfish and Ruby's mother are arrested, and Ruby, along with a pet pig she stole, is on her own. Luckily, a woman she met at the campground where they were staying helps her locate an unknown aunt, Eleanor. Eleanor is an Episcopalian nun who has a farm where she cares for animals. She is also dying of cancer, but helps Ruby out. Eleanor lets Ruby live with her and helps get her mother a lighter sentence for the robbery, allowing Ruby some measure of security that she has lacked. In turn, Ruby tries to help Eleanor out by attempting to locate a child that Eleanor had to give up for adoption.
Strengths: It's nice that Ruby finds supportive people to help her out, and the book is clearly on trend-- it's the fifth book in a row with a dead parent that I've read recently. Bonus points for the pet pig.
Weaknesses: A dead father and then a dying aunt? Too sad for me. I did have a little trouble with the fact that Eleanor would have had to give her baby up for adoption in about 2003-- was there that much of a stigma at that point? And do Episcopalian nuns really wear habits? Didn't know that. Perhaps this was historical fiction and I missed it?
What I really think: Just not my cup of tea. Certainly had funny moments, and was well written enough.

Ms. Yingling

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