Sarah's Stars

Clara Vidal. Like A Thorn
Delacorte $19.99  ISBN 978-0-385-73564-3  119 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 15

This is how Mélie's life unfolds with her two mothers, the rosy one and the dark one. Things are relatively easy: when her mother is in a good mood, it's Rosy Mom who's there; when she turns nasty, it's Dark Mom who takes over. The only thing to do then is wait for Rosy Mother to return.

Ever since Mélie can remember, her mother has always seemed like a two-faced woman. One face is the happy, loving face, or Rosy Mother, and the other is the evil, horrible face, Dark Mother. But she's not a monster. No, she's bi-polar. Every single day Mélie struggles with her mom, trying to please her and be a good child, but soon enough every well-intentioned act goes unnoticed and every mistake is blown out of proportion. Finally, Mélie just gives up and spirals deeper and deeper into depression and develops obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Will Mélie's mom ever get the help she needs before Mélie decides to just give up and end her pain by committing suicide?

Such a charming little book cover might lead one to think that this is a rosy-posy meander through the world of a girl with a bi-polar mother. But looks can be deceiving. Like A Thorn is dark and for some, maybe even a little bit disturbing. I found it very easy to read and interesting, but the story seemed very lost and hopeless. The ending seemed a little contrived and while, there is a hint at a happy conclusion I still couldn't help but feel as if the last few pages were accidentally left out of the manuscript. This book was originally written in French so perhaps some of the problems stem from the translation? The writing was stale; it wasn't alive or rich. I think had I read it in its original language it would have been much more satisfying. The tiny book took me little more than an hour to read, maybe even less, so it's no heavy-hitting epic. Compared to other short works such as The Pearl by John Steinbeck, it didn't come close to capturing as much emotion and thought and feeling. For mature readers between the ages of 14-16 maybe it'll be well received, but if you're younger or older I highly doubt you'll enjoy it. Like A Thorn was interesting and original but it still left me wondering and not in a good way.

I give Clara Vidal's Like A Thorn three stars.


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