Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Orange Houses (2009)

Two books in a row about damaged people in a harsh world can be hard on one's spirit but this book by Paul Griffin was much better than the last book I read.

Mik (rhymes with Nick), Fatima, and Jimmie could not be more different in background and experiences but they come together in friendship at a crucial time for all three. Mik is a bright girl who is hearing impaired and has to use old-fashioned hearing aids which are full of static and scratchy noises. The good thing about them is that they completely block her ear canals and shutting them off gives her blissful quiet.

Meningitis struck her ten years before, when she was five. Technically her hearing loss was "moderately severe," what lawyers looking to sue hospitals pegged 50 percent deficient. Being halfway to sound was like never being able to catch your breath.

Fatima was a stowaway on a tanker from an unnamed country of North or East Africa. She speaks English very well and is trying to make enough money to bring her sister to the U.S. Jimmie is a veteran who suffered a psychotic break, given an honorable discharge and is a rapping, skateboarding friend of Mik.

Now he saw the other girl, the child suicide bomber, legless, bleeding out in front of him on the sandy subway platform. He closed his eyes but still saw her, would always see her. Why didn't he grab her as she skipped past him? Could he have stopped her from detonating that IED?

The introduction to each chapter tell you something bad is going to happen and keep you turning the pages to the dreaded outcome.

Bronx West, a high school classroom, a late October Thursday morning twenty-seven days before the hanging...

I just have three words for you, "Read this book!"

My rating for this book: +++++

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