Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams is a dark read. It follows the story of thirteen-year-old Lacey who is barely managing to keep her life together. The last time Lacey had a friend was in the fourth grade. Her father left when she was young and her mother, Angela, is sick and suicidal. Furthermore, Lacey s mother has an obsession with tragedy and often looks at pictures of destruction and death. Angela sees visions of her own dead father and believes him to be alive. This ghost encourages Angela to harm herself.
The one constant in Lacey' s life, her Aunt Linda, left when Angela, in a rage, decided to kick her sister out of the house. Things go from bad to worse. When she comes to pick up her mom from work, Lacey discovers that Angela is missing. A friendly boy on the bus, Aaron, offers to help Lacey, giving her the first friendship she s had in years. Through the book, Lacey, who is extremely protective of her mother, becomes more willing to understand that she has to get help for her mother.
I found this depressing book unenjoyable. The author did not do a good job of lightening up the tension for even a few paragraphs. She could have added a little brightness to Lacey s life in some way, such as even a TV show to which the girl looked forward. The book had one tone without much variation. The writing was mostly monotonic and dialogue never varied from character to character. Additionally, I found the use of incomplete sentences such as Not my aunt after all (p. 138) sprinkled throughout the book to be irritating. While the writing was somewhat descriptive, it never leapt off the page. Furthermore, the author never made it quite clear from what type of mental illness Lacey' s mom was suffering, leaving the reader with a feeling of not fully understanding Angela' s problems. The cause of Angela' s disease or Lacey 's feelings about her missing father were never explored. In all, this book is not a must read.
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chicago, IL USA