Lettie Hemstock is a girl unlike any girl the boy has ever met. She is magical and takes him to see the ocean on her property, which is really a pond. The story if filled with the wonderful world of Lettie, her mother, and her grandmother. Three strong women live out on a farm where the boy runs for protection. Throughout the story the boy learns that the world is more than what he has always believed it to be. There are secret worlds, and there are secrets in his world. When bad things escape, and his family is thrown into turmoil due to consequences of his own actions, Lettie is the only one who might be able to save him, his family, and the world.
I have to say, from the beginning of this I felt my heart be torn into pieces, stitched back up, then slowly pulled apart again. I slowly bled to death as I read this book. I bled on the pages. I bled in my bed. I felt my heart stop beating when I realized how much was lost and what it took.
That being said, this is a beautiful, haunting, and very sad story. It begins at a funeral, then heads to a seven-year old’s birthday party, a party no one comes to. Death and more death follows before tragedy forces itself into the young boys heart. He finds that his family is rotting from the inside due to the thing he couldn’t let go of. He tries to protect Lettie, but instead dooms the world.
His father changes and he runs away, seeking help from Lettie and her family. In the end, Lettie learns that she is the only one who can save him, and the world.
Then the end. The reader learns that he goes back to Lettie’s farm, throughout the years, and he learns different things while there, but what he really learns is that Lettie thought he was special, and worth something. Lettie no longer lives on the farm, but he goes back, hoping one day to see her. One day, he might see her again, and hopefully by that time, he will be complete.
This book man, this book broke me. It started with sadness, and ended with both hope and sadness. I really enjoyed this book, even though it ripped my heart apart and caused me to slowly bleed out. It offered something that most books don’t offer, the truth of life, and the reality of death. As Lettie says, “That’s the trouble with living things. Don’t last very long. Kittens one day, old cats the next. And then just memories. And the memories fade and blend and smudge together . . .” (pg 45). Everything in this book is a memory, everything in life eventually becomes a memory, and those memories blend together to become what we think they are, but no two memories of the same event are ever the same.
Read this. It’s an excellent book, a book that will break you, but give you something in return.