Friday, March 30, 2012

Weeds and Flowers by Michelle Garren Flye

"When I think of my childhood, I think of weeds and flowers, sun-drenched color and shadowy spaces."

Charlie is 12 years old when her life changes forever. Her mother has remarried, had a "change-of-life" baby, and traded in her waitress uniform to be a stay-at-home mom. Meanwhile, Charlie's best friend Marleen has grown distant and Charlie's crush on her friend's older brother Kyle suffers a setback when he gets a steady girlfriend. The real shock comes when the girlfriend is kidnapped and murdered, leaving Charlie and her small hometown reeling from the shock. Can it be that the world Charlie believed in her whole life isn't what it seems?

The harder she looks, the more she comes to realize the truth about her town and the people who live there. Helplessly, Charlie watches as Marleen develops a dangerous obsession with a male neighbor. With the help of Marleen's brother Jeff, Charlie fights to save her friend before it is too late.

Set in the mountains of North Carolina against a backdrop of racism, bittersweet first love, and disillusionment, Weeds and Flowers is a story of young girl finding her way along the paths that lead from childhood onward.

Reviewer: Dolce Amore
Close to her wedding, Charlie remembers her childhood as this:
When I think of my childhood, I think of weeds and flowers, sun-drenched color and shadowy spaces. That was what gardens were and always will be to me—lovely flowers on the surface, weeds encroaching beneath and dark spaces in between. Snakes twined in a grapevine and beetles crouching under decorative borders of violets.
Despite all, she loved David, her step father, from the first time she saw him, when she was twelve, and he is a bright flower in her memory garden. However, that year, when he married Charlie’s mother, everything changed, starting with her mother’s decision to have a baby.

The same year, Marleen, her best friend, starts to be obsessed with a neighbor almost twenty years older, Brian; she discovers that her mother had knew all along how to reach her real dad and she never told her; and Tracy, the girlfriend of Marleen’s big brother is kidnaped and killed.

Slowly, Marleen’s other brother, Jeff, became her best friend and boyfriend, especially after Marleen moves with her mother to Chicago after the cops discover paintings of her naked in Brian’s home.

And she starts to see the darkness beneath the surface.
The ugliness. Every town has it. Secrets, lies, hidden anger, feuds. Small towns are the worst, I guess. I mean, I haven’t spent much time in Chicago, but the little bit I’ve been there hasn’t really felt that way. See, you’ve only ever seen the surface of things.
The cops finally arrested a man, a black one, for the murder of Tracy, but days after, Jeff is killed in a hit and run. And Charlie does her best to find the one who killed him.

It's a wonderful story that makes you stop and think. It’s about love, loss, and life. So well written it makes you feel like you were there, seeing all with your own eyes. It's different from the other books by Ms. Michelle Garren Flye, but no less wonderful. I love it and I rate it 5 stars.

Publisher: Dragonflye Publishing


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