Alice Silvers has a lot of reasons to hate her life. Her abusive father left the family long ago and hasn't been in contact with her since. Her mother is a flighty stage designer who treats Alice more like a chummy girlfriend than a daughter. And while she is a talented songwriter, Alice is constantly frustrated by the fact that she has a "Frankenstein voice, all cracked, scratched and broken," and can't sing her own lyrics--all because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father when she was a child. But when Alice discovers that her hated father is dying in a hospital only two hours away, she is forced to look forgiveness in the face for the first time and decide whether she has the power within herself to turn the other cheek.
A cynical 17-year-old of the '90s, Alice holds many strongly negative opinions about both her parents and her world in general. But teens will learn from Alice's struggle that hatred always ends up hurting the hater the most. Young adults will also admire Alice's independence in coming to this realization on her own by using her songwriting as a tool to work through her anger. Graham McNamee's novel is an engaging read that speaks plainly to teens about forgiveness and acceptance, offering them a gift to take back to their own realities. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
From Publishers Weekly
Alice has not seen her father since the day her mother threw him out several years ago?but her hatred for him is as permanent as the damage he did to her vocal cords during his last angry rampage. ("Dad wasn't a hitter?he was a squeezer, a grabber and a shaker"). Now Alice's voice, "all cracked, scratched and broken," is a painful reminder of her past. She cannot sing the songs she composes in her head; nor can she feel sorrow when she learns that her father is dying of cancer. Alice, who narrates, talks tough a lot of the time, yet, like many protagonists of the YA genre, reveals a sensitive side (through her song lyrics, included here). She undergoes a rite of passage?confronting her father in the hospital?and, with the support of her kind and stalwart boyfriend, comes to accept what she cannot change: "I have a voice! An ugly, ragged, dragged-through-the-dirt voice. But it's real. It's mine." First-novelist McNamee offers a biting account of domestic violence, but he never moves out of the problem-novel arena. Ages 12-up.
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