Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: March 29th, 2011
Recommended reading: “Up from the Blue”

We get a lot of books to review at the newspaper. Most of the books that publishers send to me are non-fiction books: “Makeup for ageless beauty” and “10-minute Puppets” and “Clutter Clearing Choices,” but I recently got a fictional novel that grabbed me from the get-go — “Up from the Blue” by Susan Henderson.

Rarely do I find a book that I can’t put down — this was one of those. At once point, I actually put it aside for several days just so I could prolong the joy of having a book I couldn’t wait to finish.

“Up from the Blue deftly portrays a family with contradictions we can all relate to—it’s beautiful and maddening, hopeful and condemning, simple, yet like a knot that takes a lifetime to untangle. You will love it completely, even as it hurts you…it’s a heartbreaking, rewarding story that still haunts me.” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet )

It’s essentially a complicated story of the love between a girl and her mentally-ill mother that is, as the Jamie Ford puts it in his comments above, both beautiful and maddening.

A sign of a truly good book: At some point in this book, I both hated and loved every single character in this book, including the narrator, young Tillie Henderson who I wanted to alternately hug and smack. I found myself annoyed with every character and, then, a few chapters later, I found myself identifying with that character and feeling sorry for them.

Life is complicated like that.

“Up From the Blue” is a page-turner that will keep you up reading until 2 a.m. to find out what happens next. There are twists that I would say are shocking, but Henderson provides enough foreshadowing to let the reader know something is up. That said, the answer, when revealed, will still make your jaw drop.

The ending, while inevitable and predictable, provides closure that I, as a reader, appreciate at the end of a novel.

Posted in: Books, I tried it
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