Saturday, December 22, 2007
Williamson, Debrah. Paper Hearts. New York: New American Library, 2007.
I cried for the first two hours of reading this book. The last two and a half to three hours I got teary a few times, but the worst was over. The main character, Chancy Deel (oh-ho, how clever, how precious!), she just gets to you at first with her waifish post-Dickensian urchinness. And the town of Wenonah, Oklahoma: supposedly 20 thousand people live there, but we meet a grand total of a handful. And all of them ARE THE NICEST PEOPLE EVER, even the recovering drug-addict one, hell-especially him. Chancy's rough life with her drug-addled bipolar mom was terrible on the East Coast, and now that she's found the mid-West everything is changes and everything gets tied up in a neat Lifetime-movie sort of way. She meets "Uncle Max" (which gives the book an untended air of creepiness) a near suicidal man who is about to be put in a nursing environment unless he can think of a way to avoid it. Turns out Chancy and Max can work out the perfect symbiosis. A completely unbelievable but charming symbiosis. The lessons and morals of the book are about as heavy handed as a Lifetime movie too. In fact, was this book supposed to be a Lifetime movie? And here I'm not disparaging the time honored tradition Lifetime movie. They are generally heartwarming tearjerkers, and this book with its idealized characters and Cinderella transformations and prepackaged answers hits all the right notes to fulfill that need. You know the one; sometimes you just need a good cry.