Sunday, May 17, 2020

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

Tiger has lived with just her mother all of her life. She has never met her father. Her mother’s attention becomes stifling. They row about Tiger going to the prom but then her mother suddenly dies before they can make up. The dress that her mother had bought for her for the prom is hideous but Tiger keeps on wearing it after her mother’s death. 
 There are now quite a few novels that deal with grief in young adults but perhaps none that bring us quite as close to the protagonist as this one does. Tiger has a variety of concerned adults looking after her: Karen, her social worker, a one-night stand foster parent, a couple of more effective foster parents, her best friend’s mum and dad and finally the half-sister she had not heard of before.
She is shown much sympathy but few can offer empathy. However, Kathleen Glasgow enables the reader to feel Tiger’s pain. 
Tiger eventually finds others who are suffering as she is and understand her sorrow.  Glasgow has the courtesy not to magic the hurt away and though the novel ends on an optimistic note we know that Tiger will continue to suffer.
This is not a comfortable read but it is an important one.      

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