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Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood

I land directly on the yellow line--lined up neatly, head to toe--and rattle loose. The road feels forgiving and cool. Something breaks inside me, not only bones. I am thirty years old, with a husband and a good job and a best friend and students who need me and a hole in my life that I fall straight through.

Impossibly, I hear it all. The fading trail of the escaping Neon. The silence of my body laid upon the yellow stripe, waiting not to be revived but resurrected. Prone, waiting, in the middle of the road. The panicked engine sound weakens with distance, and I wait.

--from page 10, Any Bitter Thing, large print edition

Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood is as heart breaking and tragic as it is beautiful. All of these things magnified by the beauty of the author's poetic writing as she tells the story of Lizzy Mitchell and her fractured childhood, past and family.

Lizzy's parents die when she is young, leaving her in the care of her uncle, a priest for a small Maine parish. She is nine when this idyllic childhood ends and is irrevokably tainted by the abuse accusations made by a bitter old parishioner. Lizzy is sent off to boarding school. Her uncle is sent off for "treatment" and soon a grieving Lizzy receives the news that her beloved uncle has died. Twenty years later when she is struck by a car and left for dead, a series of revelations is set into motion that reveal a series of old, shocking misunderstandings and betrayals that served to effectively end her childhood in Maine, sever all ties with the uncle she loved, and alter her life forever. Lizzy and her family embark upon a journey whose end will again forever alter their lives and relationships with each other.

You will not want to put this book down even as its events and revelations make your heart hurt for the tragedy that Lizzy had to survive and whose reverberations continue to shake her world down to its foundations. I highly recommend this book. It is available upon request through Interlibrary Loan.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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