Conceived "in something close to a bona fide miracle," when Polly was 57, 10-year-old Willow worries that her now 68-year-old chain-smoking mother will succumb to "the Bear," Willow's name for cancer. Narrator Jenna Lamia is just terrific as the outspoken Willow. She completely immerses herself in the child's perception and descriptions of Polly's life. When Polly takes over, Lamia is utterly convincing, showing her to be irreverent, outspoken, and cantankerous, with a take-no-prisoners attitude and a fondness for margaritas. As Willow enters her teens, her best friend becomes her boyfriend, and the "Bear" rears its ugly head. This story could have been sickeningly sweet, but Kathy Hepinstall's writing is crisp and never sentimental, and Lamia's character portraits are honest and engaging. Wonderful listening. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine [Published: MAY 2017]
Trade Ed. Penguin Audio 2017
DD ISBN 9781524751944 $20.00
Library Ed. Books on Tape 2017
DD ISBN 9781524751951 $76.00
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