Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Green Heart

Alice Hoffman's book Green Heart is a gem. It contains the text of 2 related novels: Green Angel and Green Witch. It is a lyrical examination of grief and the way forward. Sixteen-year-old Green is the one who was left behind. She is the one who speaks to plants, coaxes them to grow and ripen. These skills cannot prepare her for the day that her kind parents and her lovely, changeable, moon-bright sister go to town and do not come back.

Green finds herself trying to figure out how to survive, blinded and angry, in a world that has changed utterly. Remembering her family consumes her, and she lets sleep take her as often as she can. She finds herself becoming as hardened as the nails she’s hammered into her boots and as unapproachable and strange as the thorns she’s woven into her clothes and the dark tattoos with which she has covered her skin. She barters away all of her old life, piece by piece, in order to survive.

Slowly, however, she begins to find her way back. She begins to assist the ones who come across her path, the ones trying to forget, the injured, the hungry, the grief-stricken and the lost: a sad young woman, a ghost-white dog, an old woman, a talented boy, a hawk, and a silent, injured young man. She reaches out to each: loving, healing, and letting go. She cannot possibly see where this web of connections will eventually take her, but her way into a new life is contained in actions, taken without knowing their ends.

The book is lyrical and poetic, like a song about grief, hope, and moving forward gracefully into a future you can’t yet see.

- Shawn F., Guest Poster

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