Monday, September 24, 2012

Garden of Angels, by Lurlene McDaniel

I have this deep (and I’ll admit…morbid) fascination for stories with tragic characters or plots, and I’m not entirely sure why.  I never really had to deal with friends dying for any reason during my childhood, so it wasn’t personal experience that intrigued me.  Nevertheless, when my fourth grade teacher read us one of McDaniel’s books, I was hooked.  There was something deeply captivating for me in the lives of these kids who weren’t sure they would live to see another birthday.  This idea of never knowing what tomorrow may bring both terrified and enthralled me.  The idea that kids could die struck some cord within me that I’d never really examined before.    

For the most part McDaniel’s writing style hasn’t changed in all these years that I’ve been reading her books, but I have to admit that there was something different about Garden of Angels.  While all of McDaniel’s books are heartrending and deeply emotional, Garden of Angels took it a step further.  Not only was it based in the past, rather than the usual more modern settings, but this was the first book by McDaniel that felt personal.  I noticed right from the beginning that this one was going to be different, but it wasn’t until the end of the book, in the author’s note to the reader, that I understood why it seemed so much more private than any of her previous books had been.  That being said, it touched me more deeply than her other books have as well.  

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