Monday, September 1, 2014

‘Livvie Owen Lived Here’ by Sarah Dooley

Book cover: Livvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Dooley. Image depicts matchsticks arranged to form the outline of a house
Olivia “Livvie” Owen and her family have lived nearly everywhere in their small community. The family struggles financially; both parents work for a retail giant in a larger, more populous community.

The family faces their latest eviction after Livvie responds with an outburst to an unexpected sound. 

Livvie is determined to return with her family to a house where they used to live, believing they were all happy there.

I sympathized with Livvie, being condemned by strangers, because I shared similar moments.

For the landlord, Janna, with her harsh judgments of “inconsiderate” and “out of control,” substitute a stranger saying that she’d spank me if I were her child or adult relatives calling me “a brat.”

These judgmental strangers only observed my behavior and didn’t care to ask why; they chose not to see that I was tired or hungry and beyond my coping point.

Livvie’s perspective spoke to my own experiences and I could relate with her. And it was a joy to accompany her as she gained insight and maturity.

Readers don’t have to share Livvie’s and my circumstance to relate with her as a character. There’s plenty to respond to, including love and loss and wanting to be happy as a family.

Disclosure of material connection: My taxes support my public library’s acquisition of this and other resources. I consider the access I enjoy to be a “priceless” return on my investment.

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