- Paperback: 333 pages
- Publisher: NAL Trade (August 7, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451221427
- ISBN-13: 978-0451221421
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,644,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paper Hearts Paperback – August 7, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
The protagonist of Williamson's (Singing With The Top Down) second novel, Chancy Deel, is a teenager on the lam from an addict mom and the group home where she landed due to her mother's abuse. Hitchhiking across the Midwest and leaving origami in place of the food she steals, Chancy is "mad at herself, for hoping that things could ever be different." She hits pay dirt in Wenonah, Okla., when she breaks into Max Boyle's garage just as he's about to off himself. Max is a grieving widower "caught in depression's claws" who refuses to be packed off to a nursing home by his social worker even after a nasty fall from the tub. Max quickly devises an alternate plan to suicide: he'll hire Chancy as his caretaker and tell the neighbors she's his god-daughter. Chancy jumps at the opportunity to live a "real pretend life," even though it requires she hide her identity. Despite occasionally compelling supporting characters like the rebellious pre-teen and depressed dad across the street, the narrative wanders into treacly territory and gets very comfortable there. If Adult Protective Services is really so easily swayed, maybe teen vagrants everywhere have finally found their calling.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chancy Deel, a teenager who has run away from her drunken, abusive mother, lands in Wenonah, Oklahoma. Broke and with no place to go, she sneaks into retired chemistry professor Max Boyle's garage and falls asleep in his ancient Lincoln. Adult Protective Services is intent on placing Max, 83, into an assisted-living facility, but he figures he can still fend for himself, and the thought of losing his house, his last link to his beloved wife, as well as his freedom, is too much to bear. But when Max gets into his car to commit a carefully planned suicide, he discovers Chancy and realizes that he just might be her last hope. With her fine writing style and delicious details, Williamson (Singing with the Top Down, 2006) has created a lyrical tale about two lost souls who find peace and purpose with each other. Ideal for book groups and fans of such character-driven, emotionally rich books as Dee Holmes' The Boy on the Porch (2003), Mary Alice Monroe's Sweetgrass (2005), and Patti Callahan Henry's When Light Breaks (2006). Mosley, Shelley
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Chancy Deel needed a home and someone to care about her. Max thought he needed someone to assist him so he could remain in his home. He needed more than assistance - he needed a reason to live. Chancy became that reason.
This is another exceptional novel by Deborah Williamson. You don't want to miss it.
Fifteen year old Chancey Deel appears to be just another runaway. Life with her mother and the foster care system hasn't been kind to her. But something about the town of Wenonah, Oklahoma, strikes a chord in Chancey. From her first encounter with waitress Corliss to meeting retired professor Max Boyle, Chancey begins to think maybe she has found a home. Maybe she has found a place to turn her PAPER HEARTS into real love....
Debrah Williamson certainly knows how to write a tearjerker! She touches on two populations that are frequently neglected- the elderly and the teenaged runaways- and helps readers see beneath those stereotypes.
Both Max and Chancey find themselves alone and desperate. Chancey doesn't want to return to either the foster care system or the mother who insists she is worthless. Max has his own dilemma. He is involved with Adult Protective Services, as well meaning social worker Shevaun Wooten wants him to leave his home of cherished memories to live in an assisted living facility. Society may have cast off the hopes of both Max and Chancey, but together maybe they can find the true love of a family, regardless of blood ties.
As a social worker, I found this story particularly touching. Despite all the efforts of the social services system, Max and Chancey are being slowly torn to pieces until they join forces. Together they fill the missing holes in one another's lives: Max and his now deceased wife, Hanna, always wanted a daughter whereas Chancey wants to belong to a family, with all the dreams and memories that entails. Through Chancey, Max and Hanna will not be forgotten.
PAPER HEARTS isn't just the story of Max and Chancey, however. Debrah Williamson has created a delightful cast of characters and each moment becomes precious. Corliss' willingness to feed a woebegone runaway only shows the depth of love she has to give, love that can even repeatedly forgive a son fighting a drug addiction. Max's neighbors, Jenny, Tom, and Adam, have their own struggles but who can't help but see just how big their hearts are as well? And who can forget Alfie, Max's beloved pet dog?
PAPER HEARTS is ultimately a story about the power of love, family, and friendship. Debrah Williamson demonstrates a gift at drawing the reader into the emotional heart of a story. Chancey and Max's story isn't always easy as there are some heart wrenching moments, but it is a story that packs a powerful punch. PAPER HEARTS is highly recommended!
COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
Max, never a healthy person, knew that his wife would surely outlive him. Sadly, this wasn't the case, since his wife, Hanna, had passed away because of cancer. He missed everything about her, from her bossiness to how she was so strong willed. Depressed and living with his dog, Max just didn't know why his life turned out like this.
Chancy and Max, from two different generations with two distinctive attitudes, find themselves in the same boat -- and will soon be in the same home.
At first, Max's decision to let Chancy stay with him was for him to be able to keep the home he and his wife shared a life in. But, soon he will discover that this decision will benefit the both of them, since they each now have someone to help them cope.
Their strong personalities will clash, a strong bond will overcome them, and a new life for each of them will blossom.
Heartwarming and sentimental, PAPER HEARTS will leave a wonderful impression on those who are willing to enter the lives of two vulnerable and lovable characters. Debrah Williamson is a storyteller who can make her readers feel the emotions that these characters are going through. A lovely novel that should be shared and passed down.
Reviewed by: Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen