Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur - Something terrible has happened. Eleven-year-old Aubrey is on her own.
'It was fun at first, playing house. Nothing to think about but TV and cheese. A perfect world.'
She's determined to hide away and take care of herself, because facing the truth is too much to bear.
'I couldn't let anyone know that I was alone. I was staying right here.'
But with the love of her grandmother and the letters she writes, can Aubrey begin to see that even though she's lost everything - all is not lost? From Amazon UK
If you go back a few years, this book was every where. Every blog was talking about it, reviewing it, apparently loving it. For whatever reason, it was never really something I looked that closely at. But I recently saw it in a shop and gave it a look - and immediately became captivated by Aubrey's story.
Aubrey's life has been turned upside down. She is alone in her house. No mum, no dad, no sister. No-one. For a few days, Aubrey has been living on her own, feeding herself, watching tv, avoiding the phone, not answering the door. But then the phone keeps ringing and she starts to get worried. Then someone is at the door and won't go away. It's her Gram, who, after worrying over the phone not being answered and that something was really wrong, has come down. She finds Aubrey alone, and realises what has happened.
I'm not going to tell you any more than that. It's quite good going into this story knowing nothing except for the fact that Aubrey is alone - not the circumstances or anything around it. You're left wondering from the first page, and it gives a good kind of disturbing, not knowing why this young girl is all on her own. With the arrival of her Gram, part of the worry disappears - there's someone to look after her now. But that doesn't mean all the problems are solved. Where is her Mum? Why does she talk like her Dad and younger sister, Savannah, have been gone a long while?
This book is absolutely heart-wrenching. Not only because you are along with Aubrey the whole way as she deals with her own feelings, worries and fears, but also because of her mother. As bad as it sounds for a mother to abandon their child, it's not always a case of just a bad parent who doesn't care. As I started reading, I was angry with every mention of her mother, but as the story continued, and I started to understand the circumstances, and what this family have gone through, I couldn't help but feel masses of sympathy for her mother. She made a massive mistake, yes, but she didn't even realise it at the time.
This really is a book of healing. Healing after a tragedy, healing of relationships, and of learning to get your life back, learning to live. As she takes you on her journey of self-healing, the hugs you'll want to give Aubrey, the lumps that form in your throat as she explains how she feels, the love you feel for her... Love, Aubrey claims your heart and won't let go. You can't help but fall in love with Aubrey from page one, with LaFleur's fantastic writing, giving Aubrey's voice real life. Although much older, the tone of the book, the actual voice of a child narrating the book, reminded me of My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher; the hopes, the wishes, the thoughts of a child, and the things she believes will be because of her age. It's just brilliant. Aubrey feels like a real child, and your heart goes out for her as she suffers. And she is simply fantastic for helping herself, without even realising it, by writing to her sister's imaginary friend, as a way of actually "talking to someone" about how she feels.
This is a beautifully moving novel, one I think everyone would fall in love with. I'm looking forward to reading more by LaFleur.
Published: 7th January 2010
Buy on Amazon US
Suzanne LaFleur's Website