25 May 2011
The Goodbye Season
Hale, Marian. The Goodbye Season. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2009.
One of the most common story lines in teen literature involves a child with special powers, especially if that child is an orphan or a "practical orphan." Another popular theme involves trying to be different from ones parents, especially a daughter trying to be different from her mother.
Mercy Kaplan dreams of having a different life, a better life, than her mother has. She does not want to be trapped at home, cooking, cleaning, and raising babies her whole life. There aren't many other options open to her, though, and her family's extreme poverty soon drives all plans of escape out of her head. She is sent to live as a servant for a neighboring family, but while she is gone the influenza epidemic rages through her town, killing her entire family and the family she is serving. Mercy tries to find another place to work, but tragedy seems to follow her wherever she goes. When she gets tangled in another family's generational drama, she has to choose: will she stay and relive her mother's life, or will she do something different, just because she's always wanted to be different?
I liked most of this story. The plot actually kept me reading, even if I was able to predict what would happen. I appreciated that Mercy realized toward the end of the novel that her mother was not miserable in her choice to be a homemaker. Mercy's mom enjoyed staying home and raising Mercy and her siblings. However, I was very disappointed in Mercy's decision at the end of the novel. I was rooting for her to choose otherwise. Nonetheless, this was a good book and definitely worth the read.