Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Blueberry Truth
Author: Ute Carbone
Publisher: Etopia Press
Cover Art: Annie Melton
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 285 Pages
Warning: Violence, mature language, and the implication of inappropriate home situations.
Beanie MacKenzie and her husband Mac have led perfect lives, with perfect families and perfect jobs they both love, he a leading cardiologist, she a teacher at a school for troubled children. Now they have the perfect home, a big house on a quiet Albany street, just perfect for raising a big family. Only the babies they’ve been trying so hard to conceive just won’t come.
Stressed in her marriage and fearing she may never bear children, Beanie throws herself into her work, surrounded by society’s throwaways. Enter Beanie’s new student, seven-year-old Blueberry Truth Crowley, a fiercely independent child whose life had been anything but perfect. Abused, neglected, and mistrustful of everyone around her, Truth throws a monkey wrench into the perfect order of Beanie’s classroom--and into her very life--challenging Beanie’s notions of motherhood, commitment, and family. But their unlikely bond may be just the thing to teach them both about love.
This inspirational little gem is written in the tradition of great stories like My Posse Don't Do Homework (the book that inspired the movie Dangerous Minds) and The Freedom Writers Diary, without the same level of violence. This book left me feeling inspired to go out into the world and do something good....something that matters or that makes a difference. It is one of those feel-good stories that will leave you feeling good for a while after reading it.
The characters are so real, they will seem like people you know - or could know. I love that Beanie and her husband, Mac, have been together since they were kids and know each other so well. The interactions between them are very realistic, whether it's them playing around, having a serious discussion or having an argument. The family dynamic was portrayed very well too. I loved Beanie's sisters and her parents and you could tell that they were a very close family. Unfortunately, it seems that like most real families, some of them had a hard time understanding that sometimes you just don't want to share everything with your family. At least not immediately.
Beanie is special needs teacher and when she gets a new student, named Blueberry Truth, she sees something special in her. Beanie understands her in a way that nobody else seems to and, ultimately, they recognize something in each other that the other needs. As Beanie struggles with having trouble conceiving, Blueberry struggles with being abandoned by her mother and placed into a less than ideal situation. Mac has a hard time understanding Beanie's need to help this mouthy, troublesome little girl and puts up roadblocks.
This is a very well written story about overcoming adversity, learning to find the good in the bad and seeing past the surface of a person to their heart. What they show you isn't always what is underneath. And regardless of a person's background or socio-economic status, you can always find common ground. That is a good lesson for everyone to learn, no matter what the age. "Truth" is a good name for Blueberry, because what it all comes down to is the truth of a person, not the package.
I highly recommend this book to anyone. This would also be a fantastic book for teenagers old enough to understand the topics addressed in this book and to open up discussions at home. An excellent first read for me from this author and I will definitely be checking out more from her in the future.