On the Shores of Darkness, There Is Light

On the Shores of Darkness, There Is Light

Paperback - 2016
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Strube is at the top of her form in this subversive story of love and redemption. Harriet is 11 going on 30. Her mixed media paintings are a wonder to her brother, Irwin, but a horror to the clueless grown-ups around her. Harriet plans to run away to a cabin to paint, and runs errands for pensioners to fund her escape. She also hopes to fathom her complicated feelings for Irwin, who suffers from hydrocephalus. But Irwin's love for Harriet is not conflicted at all. She's his compass. When fate intervenes, it's Irwin who must untangle the web of the human heart.
Publisher: Toronto : ECW Press, 2016
ISBN: 9781770412965
1770412964
Branch Call Number: STRUBE C
Characteristics: 365 pages ; 22 cm

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EKGO Aug 24, 2016

Here I am, swimming against the tide of popular opinion.
I didn't enjoy this story as much as others have.

It's split into two parts: eleven-year-old Harriet's story and her little brother Irwin's tale. I liked Irwin's story far better than Harriet's but didn't understand the necessity. I would have been fine had the book ended with Harriet.

This is a Hobbesian tale (not really) in that it's bleak and mostly hopeless, showing the day-to-day struggles of downtrodden human beings. Everyone in this story is solitary, poor, and even brutish and while Harriet's unique artist's perspective is good for a laugh here and there, the amount of quirk crammed into each chapter makes her peculiarities less charming and more of a chore to read.
I wound up feeling bored through much of her trials and tribulations to find love and acceptance among the adults in her life.

Irwin's perspective is refreshing just because it's something different, though, really, it's not. He's also struggling to find love and acceptance, he's caught between his older and younger sisters, and his life is also solitary, poor, and somewhat brutish, as well.

Getting through this was tedious but almost worth it for the last chapter. I felt it ended well, on the one note it had been trying to achieve the entire time.

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