Dear Lucy is Julie Sarkissan's newly released debut novel. I can't imagine being a first time author waiting for readers' reactions to your work. So Julie, let me say right from the top - I knew from the first few pages that I was going to love it.
Lucy has trouble communicating with the world.
"What's the matter with you?
I know that question.
What's the matter with you?
When someone asks you that question, there is no answer."
Lucy has been sent by her Mum mum to live on a farm with Mister and Missus. She knows she must never leave the farm or Mum mum won't know where to find her. Lucy is mostly happy on the farm - she likes collecting the eggs from the chicken coop. Samantha's family has sent her to the farm as well - to await the birth of her illegitimate child. And with Samantha, Lucy has found her first and only friend. When Samantha gives birth and the baby disappears, Lucy knows what she must do.
"A family, they are there from the beginning of each other." She has to find the baby for Samantha.
Although she cannot read, she takes Samantha's journal and a helper on her quest - Jennifer the chicken. Yes, a chicken, who plays a major role in the book - and has a pretty big personality.
Lucy captured my heart from the beginning. Her view of the world is so innocent, so logical and so hard for others to understand. I could see danger and heartbreak coming as I turned pages and I just wanted to protect her. Samantha's story also captured my emotions, but in a different way. Sarkissian has a magical way with words.
"Sometimes there are people that you use words to say good-bye because you are going to separate from them. But other times there are people that you say good-bye to with words but inside your heart you never say good-bye to them. Mum mum is one of those people. There is a thread and the thread is so long that it lasts forever. Your heart is tied to one end of the thread and your mother's heart is tied to the other end. So really it's not a good-bye. No matter how far away you go, you never have to say good-bye."
I fell in love with Lucy and her outlook. ("And I liked to wave. That is how branches dance with the wind.") But Missus - well, she's a whole 'nother story. Sarkissian employs multiple narrators, telling the story of Dear Lucy in alternating chapters. I always enjoy this method of storytelling. There's a delicious tension in seeing the same events from different perspectives. Or having a piece of information that one of the characters doesn't.
Sarkissian has woven an addicting story, but she also deftly explores the theme of motherhood from many viewpoints.
Dear Lucy is a unique, beguiling, captivating read that I devoured in a day. This is a title I'll definitely be recommending to everyone and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next novel from this fresh new voice.
Fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time would love this title. Read an excerpt of Dear Lucy. Book clubs - there's a reading guide.