Book and Movie Reviews

See You at Harry’s

by Jo Knowles

April 8, 2019.Beth.2 Likes.0 Comments
I really enjoyed the relationships within the book, including the difficulties and challenges within each one.

Fern is twelve years old and feels invisible. Her mum is always meditating or helping her dad in their family restaurant and her dad is always coming up with crazy ideas for marketing. Her sister Sarah is taking a gap year after high school and her brother Holden, who she used to be so close to, is dealing with bullies at school and pretending that no one knows that he’s gay. Her littlest brother is Charlie, three years old and devoted to Fern, but he’s annoying and sticky and always commanding attention. Without her best friend Ran, Fern would almost disappear. His mantra “all will be well” soothes her, but when tragedy strikes it suddenly no longer feels true, or like anything will be well ever again.

Well, if you’re looking for a book that won’t rip out your heart and stomp on it in front of your eyes, then this book isn’t for you. This book is S.A.D. and you won’t see it coming. That doesn’t mean this book isn’t good. It’s a great book, the characters are interesting, the story is compelling, and the problems they face are relevant. It’s very well written, which is probably why the sadness hits so hard. I really liked the narrator Fern, even though she sounded older than 12 years old, but her insights and observations really made the story. I also really enjoyed the setting. It was easy to picture the ice cream store, and the town and the struggles the family faced fit well into this image.

I really enjoyed the relationships within the book, including the difficulties and challenges within each one. They came across as very real, and there was a very accurate family dynamic. Fern’s main relationships were with her siblings and her best friend Ran, and the way they interacted gave insight to each character that added a depth to them that was more than just describing who they were.

What I didn’t like was how abruptly the story seemed to end. There was no real closure or resolution to a lot of the smaller problems the family were facing. The parents never changed to become more attentive, the grief felt was never alleviated. I would have loved an epilogue at least, if only to see how the family moved past the tragedy and how their lives were changed an affected. Another thing I didn’t like was when the dad forbids Holden from seeing his much older boyfriend. The characters framed this as a homophobic father not wanting to accept his gay son, which was a terrible message to send to any kids reading the story. The very real risks and concerns of a fourteen year old dating a seventeen year old were completely ignored by all the characters, which was worrying. Kids should be protected, including vulnerable LGBT kids, and this book did not do a good job of showing that. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was well written with great characters and an absorbing plot full of emotion.

Categories: Book Review

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