Amanda Crosby grew up in the hometown of Helen Keller and in the shadow of the legend, and she hated it. Her mother spent more time keeping the memories of Helen alive than she spent with Amanda. She seemed to volunteer at the home for unwed mothers just to get away from Amanda, and when her father dies, Amanda needs someone more than ever. This story begins with Amanda having her ninth birthday, takes the reader through her teenage years, and ends in her adult years.
I didn't like Amanda at all to start with. I didn't like her selfishness, her outlook on life, or her choices. I couldn't understand why she caved into her mother's demands, when she didn't like her mother very much and had such a bold, spunky, stubborn personality. I didn't think a young woman like her was likely to abandon the love of her life, her soul mate, just because her mother told her to. I also thought the writing was too sluggish and slow. There was way too much description about mundane and unimportant things, and the story and plot became depressing to me. There were mistakes, too, like "slid" for "slide," "drunks" for "drinks," and "...decided to join Frank and I...." I would have only rated the first two-thirds of the book a two.
It was only in the last quarter of the book that it switched directions for me. Amanda began learning some important lessons that changed her. I did like Frank, her husband, who was dying of cancer. He almost seemed like a Christ-like figure. In this section, Amanda began to take an interest in things besides herself, and the story became redemptive and uplifting. I wouldn't say it made all of the first sections worth the read, because I still think there was too much descriptive narrative that needs editing, but it certainly changed my perspective and upped how I rated it. If there was a follow-up, I would likely read it, because I would like to see if Amanda found a happy-ever-after in the romantic sense.