In Home, Shana Chartier has produced a book that I truly enjoyed.  We start with an interesting bit of up front characterization in the letter from Claire, the mother who’s dying of cancer and trying to convince her wayward daughter, Tara, to return to Colorado. On page 2 Claire writes, “I will personally haunt you until the day you join me in the afterlife.” Haha! Now that’s some spunk! All of Chartier’s characters are carefully constructed and relatable, for good or ill, to people I imagine inhabit many lives. They speak in comfortable human dialogue that doesn’t read as stilted or confused. Real people saying real things.

Chartier goes on to provide absolutely gorgeous and creative setting elements like “the cold fragrance of sanitation seeping into her skin” from page 17 and “surrounded by the brown polluted world of suburbia.” Her descriptions of both natural and man-made surrounding are superb and we’re transported from a Boston gym, to airports, to an organic farm near the Rockies. There’s even little mountains at the start of each chapter.  She surrounds us with images, “there was a gap between them that was 3 Years wide” from page 40, “now Tom was embarrassed beyond the realm of natural skin color” page 116, and “she let a sob loose and held a tissue to her mouth and nose to hide the sight of her crumbling confidence” from page 150, that so absorb the reader, so draws them in, as to leave you feeling a part of the fabric of the story.

I’d read this book again and suggest it to those seeking their inner strength, those struggling to find their comfortable real place in life, and those in need of a friend.  I left the book feeling close to Tara and optimistic myself.

Spoiler Alert: I liked the ending and where it ended. Tara takes in her father, Bob, to build a stronger relationship with him and to help him heal from losing his wife. It didn’t feel like a tacked on ending or an extra and was a logical and emotionally satisfying decision on the part of Tara and Tom. Very much fit the characters. It’s a hopeful ending without smothering the reader in gushing happiness.

Sarah Ockershausen Delp

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