Ten-year-old Iva Giles believes her father is lost. His checks, which once arrived every week, become sporadically-mailed wadded dollar bills, then simply stop coming altogether. She lives with her mother and little sister, half in her present world, where the scenery alters and reality is erased a little more each day; and half in her past world, that of her family foursome before it split apart.
What Iva knows about her father is his obsession with water—his trips to lakes, rivers, and oceans searching for something—and that she was his favorite. He was always leaving, yet somehow Iva thinks of him as always coming back. For all these years, Iva has tried to stand still long enough for him to come to her. As their mother drives the two girls farther from where they last knew him, in a quick string of moves into smaller and smaller houses until there’s no house at all but only a motel room, Iva feels like she’s losing her grasp on their past.
So she runs. She boards a Gulf-bound bus in the middle of the night, searching for what was pulling her father away. She confronts her mother’s limitations of the heart, her sister’s limitations of youth, and in the face of these, Iva chooses her own path back to the only thing she believes is real anymore, or was ever real at all. But what she finds in Pascagoula, Mississippi, isn’t at all what she expected—and so neither is she.
From Publishers Weekly
A Southern girl watches her fractured family succumb to chaos as her father is consumed by mental illness in this evocative but rather monotonous first novel. Eleven-year-old Iva Giles, her seven-year-old sister, Mally, and their mother, Lilly, crisscross the South in perpetual flight from Iva's father, Jameson, who is depressed and unreliable, fixated on his brother's death in a drowning accident. Gracefully weaving flashback sequences into the family's helter-skelter journey, Reid reveals Jameson's dementia and strange obsession with lakes and rivers-he eventually becomes so unbalanced that he threatens his family. Iva initially resents her mother, Lilly, whom she views as the unstable parent-villain because of their peripatetic lifestyle and Lilly's disastrous affair with Iva's uncle, Davis. However, Iva discovers a darker side of her idolized father when she runs away and tracks him down in Mississippi. Reid sometimes strives too hard for lyricism ("I couldn't help giggling, so loud Mally woke and shot right to silk"), but she gets Iva's stubborn, innocent voice right. The Southern settings-from Texas to Tennessee-are warmly drawn, though the succession of travel scenes become redundant. Reid doesn't transcend the familiar tropes of the mother-daughter road-trip novel, but this is a richly imagined debut.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Iva Giles was 10 when her mother first packed up the house and her sister, Mally, and moved them away. When her father found them, they would pack and move again, each time farther away from their original home, and into smaller and smaller houses, and farther away from her father. Iva lives in a dream world that is part past, part reality, and part hope. All she knows is that she was her father's favorite and if she could be with him again, they would all be happy. But each time they move, Iva builds up more resentment toward her mother and loses more of her grasp on her dream of having a family again. So, in an act of desperation, Iva takes a bus back to Mississippi to find her father. But what she finds isn't what she hoped for and what she gains isn't what she expected. Reid, in her first novel, creates in Iva a narrative voice that is strong but scared, intelligent yet naive, jaded and still full of hope. Carolyn Kubisz
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About Nicole Louise Reid
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Published March 28, 2010
by MP Publishing Limited.
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Parenting & Relationships.