I had pulled some books from my boxes that I am still sorting from my now defunct book fair business. Books that I wanted my own kids to read. I tossed “Waiting for Normal” by Leslie Conner, over to one of my girls who responded “Yeah, it’s really good. You should read it.” There are some advantages to the kids getting older. In theory shoes can now be shared between us. And yesterday after finishing this book that one of them recommended, I picked up the book the other own just finished and headed to bed with it tucked under my arm.
“Waiting for Normal” tracks a life changing year for Addie, one of the most resiliently lovable book heroes you will ever route for. Her mother, Denise, is a mess, possibly bi-polar. She is an all or nothing sort of person – and Addie is never sure which side of that coin she is going to get. The two of them live in a trailer provided by Dwight, her mother’s last husband, the closest thing to a father that Addie has ever had. At age 12, our hero takes care of herself and has become quite adept at creating wonderous meals from cans of soup and toast. When her mother starts to spend more and more time (as in days upon days) with her boyfriend / boss, Addie is left cooking for one.
There are people all around her keeping an eye on her situation. Soula and Elliott who own and run the mini market across the street. Grandio, her dad’s father, who loves her but is gruff and to the point with his dislike of her mother. Dwight and her half sisters, Katie and Brynna whom she desperately longs to be with. But Addie has been down this path before and knows that her mother’s behavior could cause the two to be separated forever. Addie is loyal, smart and ultimately scared, as she protects her mother and herself from those who are poking around to make sure she is being taken care of. But she makes one mistake, revealing all of the lies that she has created to cover her mom… and it just might get her the Normal she has been waiting for.
Warning: cried at beach for the last 70 pages of this read. Thought sunglasses we hiding but it turns out they were not enough. Beautifully written!