Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Grounded by Kate Klise

Book Jacket

After her brother, sister, and father die in a plane crash, Daralynn Oakland receives 237 dolls from well-wishers, resulting in her new nickname: Dolly.  And she doesn't even like dolls!  Dolly would much rather go fishing--not that she's allowed to go anywhere on her own after the accident.  As she sees it, her whole life has turned terrible, and there's nothing she can do about it.

But when her angry, grieving mother's new job as a hair stylist at the local funeral home is threatened by the new crematorium, Dolly decides it's time to take action.  She suggests throwing Living Funerals--a chance to attend your own funeral and hear all the nice things people say while you're still alive to thank them.

Will Dolly's new plan put the 'fun' back into funeral and save a dying business?

In her most affecting novel yet, acclaimed author Kate Klise seamlessly depicts a rich fabric of humor, heartbreak, and healing.


Who knew it was possible to write a book about funerals, cremations, con men, and the death of family members....and make it heart-warming?  Klise brilliantly uses the depths of emotion to bring out the heights, and shows the beauty and meaning that comes with the life moments we'd rather not acknowledge.

Daralynn is a great protagonist.  She is too young to know how to deal with such overwhelming grief, and her shut-off mother doesn't help her process the change.  Her aunt Josie is a fantastic larger-than-life character, nicely balanced by the understated Uncle Waldo.  The family is completed by the dementia-addled Mamaw, who steals Daralynn's dolls to feed and care for them.

This is a small town bursting with vivid characters, and Klise does a great job of never letting that overshadow the main point--that life goes on, and that when we care for each other, we can endure the heartaches that inevitably come with life.

Five out of five horse-drawn carriages.

Release Date:  November 2010
Reading Level: Grade 4+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  J KLI

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