From the acclaimed author of Lemon comes a clever and heartbreaking new novel of love and revelation.
Harriet is 11 going on 30. Her mixed-media art is a source of wonder to her younger brother, Irwin, but an unmitigated horror to the panoply of insufficiently grown-up grown-ups who surround her. She plans to run away to Algonquin Park, hole up in a cabin like Tom Thomson, and paint trees; and so, to fund her escape, she runs errands for the seniors who inhabit the Shangrila, the decrepit apartment building that houses her fractured family.
Determined, resourceful, and a little reckless, Harriet tries to navigate the clueless adults around her, dumpster dives for the flotsam and jetsam that fuels her art, and attempts to fathom her complicated feelings for Irwin, who suffers from hydrocephalus. On the other hand, Irwin's love for Harriet is not conflicted at all. She's his compass. But Irwin himself must untangle the web of the human heart.
Masterful and piercingly funny, Strube is at the top of her considerable form in this deliciously subversive story of love and revelation.
What the critics say
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- Tanya D
I was originally intrigued because I love books with humour, and this book seemed to be teeming with it from other reviews I had read. This book however, is that and so much more. It deals with heavy-handed issues like growing up in a broken family (having a fraught relationship with a "step-parent" of sorts and also dealing with another set of parents who want to start a new family of their own), having a sibling who has a chronic medical condition, and being a child yourself who wants to run away from it all.
The story is so multi-layered with outstanding character development. I would highly recommend this for a book-club pick because there are so many themes and questions to discuss.
I love that this book is set in Canada! Toonies and loonies, oh my!
I also loved the narration, I think it was perfect. The narration for the voices of Harriet and her mother is particularly outstanding. I feel her mothers angst so realistically.
I definitely recommend this audible book. I would suggest not to read too many reviews, a lot of reviews on Goodreads have things I would consider a spoiler, and this book is best going in a bit blind. I really hope it gets more recognition.
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