Fixing Delilah

Monday, December 13, 2010

"We all long for what could have been"- Deliah in Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

I really like the quote, since we live going forward, yet we retrospect and imagine what our life could have been like. Sometimes, we regret our choices to the point that we can't face forward, and sometimes, we look at our mistakes and live for a better future. 

I received this book as an ARC a little more than a month ago but I hadn't had the time to truly write a nice post about it although I finished the book a couple days after I received it. The cover of the ARC differs greatly from the current cover, and the title was different. Originally titled Fixing Delilah Hannaford, now it's called Fixing Delilah.  

The ARC cover and title

As a teenager, we all wish at least once in our lives that we could go back to the way things were when we were younger. Those innocent, bygone days when we didn't have to think about our future, and just being happy living in the moment. The days when our parents seemed to love us more, and spent countless days with us, laughing, eating and telling stories, instead of getting mad and screaming about our future. Deep down, we know that our parents only want the best for us, yet the thought of moving forward, alone, without anyone to guide us and lead the way is so, so scary. So... we change to try to cope with "reality" , not the innocent world of happily ever afters and Superman, whether its for the better or for the worse. 

In Fixing Delilah ( Little Brown and Company, 308 pages) by Sarah Ockler, Delilah Hannaford used to be good and innocent- once upon a time. Maybe its because Delilah's mother isn't around anymore, spending most of her time at work. Whatever the reason, Delilah's life is falling apart as her grades drop, her friends are no where to be found and Delilah's life is just one big mess.

When Delilah's grandmother suddenly dies, Delilah's mother takes Delilah on a road trip to Vermont to settle the estate. On the trip, all Delilah hears is the robotic voice of the GPS monotoning the directions, something Delilah's mother never gives to Delilah. Going back to the place Delilah spent her summers until eight years ago has proven to be difficult. Memories of the place and questions fill Delilah's mind. What was the incident that no one talks about that had stopped them from coming eight years ago?

Reading the story, I felt empathy for Delilah as so many teenagers are in the same position that she's in. The situation of a single family, with the parent working hard to provide a "good" future. While Delilah's mom might also be avoiding Delilah to talk about the painful past, many parents work long hours, instead of spending time with their children when the children need them the most. A lot of children end up like Delilah, with grades that are below average, friends who stay away and watch rather than help, and a hopeless feeling.  Delilah's trip allowed her to get back up again and that journey is an interesting read. Truths are revealed, and although the truth may be harsh, it gives Delilah a sense of closure, and hope. While Delilah never finds
"answers", she finds satisfaction, and that in itself is growing up. 

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