I love novels by Barbara O’Connor. How to Steal a Dog made my Top 10 Read Alouds list. And I am longing to read her newest: The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester Now, that I’ve discovered her blog, I adore her all the more!
I picked up Greetings from Nowhere at the library the other day and read it in one luxurious sit down and read session.
This book is about many things. Struggling parent/child relationships (Kirby and his Mom & Willow and her Dad) Moving on and letting go (Willow, Aggie, Clyde) Yearning for loved ones away or never really known (Willow’s Mom, Loretta’s Other Mother) Change (new homes, new schools, new lives) Memories. Love. So many things in such a well told story.
For me, what this book was about was something more – something related to the spilling your secrets to a stranger on the plane syndrome and then feeling in a tiny cramped space above the clouds like you have found a new friend. This book is all about how we are always collecting friendships. That a shared history is not necessary when things in common will do. Things like hard times, pinned hope, worry . . . The sharing of stories and the working towards one goal (fixing up the motel) forms new bonds and a connectedness that forms quick and solid.
I love the significance of the Great Smoky Mountains in this story. Many things can be lost and found, packed and revisited but these mountains are a constant. I also love Willow’s thinking on page 189 – how she gets to the place of knowing how to ask her Dad if Aggie can stay. So much love in the last bit of her plea “And Harold is in the tomato garden!”
Yes, this book is a work of fiction for children. And yes, I can’t wait to read this to a class of students but this book can have such a wide audience. My Mom would love this book. Because the friendships span generations, it is widely appealing.
Friends are where you find them and family is how you make it. Thank you Barbara O’Connor for delivering us this message in such a lovely book.