Sunday, January 26, 2020

Beginners Welcome

Baldwin, Cindy. Beginners Welcome
February 11th 2020 by HarperCollins
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Annie Lee was very close to her father, so she is still reeling from his recent death. It doesn't help that odd things are happening, like whiskers left in the sink or radios that suddenly play his music, that make Annie and her mother feel like his ghost is still with them. It also doesn't help that his life insurance hasn't come through, and the two are struggling to get by on the mother's salary cleaning houses. Annie must stay by herself in the afternoons, and she is supposed to stay in the apartment, but she scooters around the town, eventually running into Ray, who plays piano. He offers to give her lessons, and the local beauty salon owner, Queenie, whose presence seems to give Annie a lot of solace. There is a piano competition offering cash prizes, and since it states "beginners welcome", Annie thinks it might be a way to help her and her mother. She makes some progress, but when Ray doesn't show up for a few days, she becomes concerned. It's a good thing she does, even though she gets in trouble when her mother finds out what she has been up to, but being part of a larger community helps both her and her mother navigate their new reality.
Strengths: This reminded me a little of Constance Greene's A Girl Called Al, in that it is sad but sweet. Annie and her mother struggle with putting food on the table and clothes on their backs, and there are not a whole lot of books (although there are a growing number) of books that show this reality. While both are grieving, the mother is doing her best to keep going, and Annie's forays into town also show a good way of coping.
Weaknesses: I never got a good feel for what was going on with the ghost of the father-- were both Annie and her mother imagining it?
What I really think: This is a slow paced book, and the cover is not very appealing, so I am debating purchase. There are a lot of books being published about people dealing with grief, and I only need so many in my library collection.

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. I think kids need books that help them deal with different kinds of loss. Thanks for telling me about this one. I will try to check it out.