Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Jeffrey Blount
Publisher: Alluvion Press
“I still hated her and so I could not tolerate anyone who could muster one iota of sympathy for her, I felt the sympathy should have been all mine. So I had to put the old me away to survive. I had to shut them all out, because they were all now in the enemy camp. It was Heidi Foster or Mae McBride. No sitting on the fence allowed.” Mae convinces herself in Jeffrey Blount’s novel, Hating Heidi Foster.
This one hundred and five page paperback tome is a short yet powerful story targeted toward late middle school age through high school young adults. With the theme of death and loss of a loved one, it deals with the emotional anger and angst of a teenager. Having only minor profanity, it would be rated PG-13 if a movie.
Written in first person by Mae, she and Heidi have been best friends since the age of six years old. One evening there is a knock at the door and Mae’s life is forever altered when her mother is told there has been a horrible accident: her husband and Mae’s father has died in a house fire trying to rescue Heidi.
With vengeance, hatred and bitterness, Mae vehemently blames Heidi for her father’s death. When she returns to school, she sees Heidi surrounded compassionately with their friends and feels abandoned and hurt. The hatred becomes deep-seeded to the unbearable point neither can tolerate each girl’s presence.
Calling herself “The Tragic One,” Mae throws herself into her schoolwork and excelling on the volleyball team while Heidi internalizes her guilt of surviving the accident, resulting in depression and physical and emotional turmoil. Mae befriends a Wiccan school friend who recognizes her hatred and tries to get her to vent it to an object such as a volley ball.
Through reviewing family videos and reenacting the scene of her father’s accident with the officer, firemen and witnesses along with sharing her feelings with her grandparents, Mae comes to terms with how her father was loved and loved others.
This short story is a tender yet heart-wrenching tribute to help any young person who has lost a parent, sibling or close friend as it shows how one can deal with the angst and anger by learning to accept there are reasons beyond our control why things happen. It is an excellent read for any classroom setting where those reading can glean from the emotional barriers and processes someone’s untimely death presents.
This book was furnished by the publicist for review purposes.
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