Do you ever find yourself rooting for a character in a story even when they are breaking the rules? Do you enjoy the innocence and honesty of children? Yes. You’ll devour this one then.
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is Annabel Pitcher’s debut novel. Let’s welcome her with open arms. She has produced here a tender story steeped in grief that actually has the reader smiling and feeling a sense of “okay-ness” for him/herself by the end.
In this novel you meet a family initially broken by death. Heartache and the inability to let go mix with alcoholism, desertion, and rebellion setting a scene for dysfunction and disaster. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it does. The beauty of the story though is that through yet more death this family, actually begin to heal. Unlike fairy tales, the story stays faithful to reality and allows the family to mend; to live on a path of okay-ness, without glossing over issues. Alcoholism doesn’t magically disappear, but management of life improves. Divorce is not reconciled, but faithfulness is acknowledged.
This story is a feel good story in a realistic way. No one tries to convince the reader that death is not devastating. It is. But Mrs. Pitcher reveals the real side of coping. She shows the light that can be found in the darkness. She leaves us celebrating family relationships and finding joy and commonalities in unlikely friendships.
A great read for the young adult reader. I would especially love this book to be shared in book clubs or as a paired reading between parent and child. I believe the story is rich and leads naturally to vigorous and meaningful discussion about some of life’s most challenging situations.