Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Poetry, XPresso

Book Review: The Funeral Flower by Michelle Jester

***This book was reviewed for XPresso Tours

Grace Kelly Rodgers is six years old when her grandfather passes. The aftermath of the devastating loss of a close family member turns a once happy, talkative child near mute. She only eats when forced, and spends a good deal of time in tears, worrying that she is going to die. When Kelly is seven, her mother takes her to see a therapist, whose final conclusion, a year some later, was that part of the problem was the home situation and family counseling might be a good idea. Needless to say, her mother utterly rejected the idea she could have any blame in the matter and removed Kelly from therapy.

But Kelly finds her own way partially free of the depression when she befriends a boy named Ty. She only saw Ty when he came to visit his grandma next door on holidays, but that didn’t stop the friendship from blooming. But time moves on, and several years later, Kelly moves away, her family going to live on her grandfather’s farm. Time eases the loss of Ty, and over the years, the move also grants the opportunity for Kelly and her sisters to learn why their mother is so protective, and so angry. And just… gods help. People suck. With all these lessons and revelations now in the fore, can Kelly relax her own inculcated responses and allow herself to fall for James, or will all her life lessons be reinforced or worse?

The book made me cry! It brought up old memories, half buried. I’ve walked those same emotional shoes as Kelly, and it all came bubbling up. Oh, how I felt for poor Kelly thinking (or knowing) she was part of the reason her parents were fighting. This hit on a visceral level because it was my own childhood experience at around the same age. Different underlying reasons, but they did fight because of me. The sadness, the wish to die, the feeling of being somehow out of place. The lesson that males couldn’t be trusted. All familiar friends.

I was equally impressed with the lesson Kelly processed on her own, about how different people handle raw emotion. Not many adults I know take the time for that level of introspection, much less teens. It helps you see that another’s emotions and the actions based on those emotions are neither your fault, nor responsibility. It was not my fault that my parents argued. It was not Kelly’s fault her sister and mother were so angry.

Jester did a magnificent job of ‘aging’ the speech, and thinking patterns as Kelly grew up over the course of the book. Being a poet, I also really enjoyed the prayer poems, though many were so sad. There were a few places where nouns that should have been pluralised were instead rendered possessive. It wasn’t often though, and did not take from my investment in the story.

????? Highly recommended. Jester’s The Funeral Flower is a book you won’t want to miss!

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