Friday, October 14, 2016
"One for the Murphys" by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Released in 2012
Carley Connor's life has always been a struggle, but it's somehow gotten worse since an abusive stepdad came on the scene. Now her mother is in the hospital with some serious injuries, and Carley herself, hurt and bewildered about that horrible night, is placed in the foster care system. The family who has taken her in, the Murphys, is the type of family Carley has never known. They're the type of family she doesn't think she deserves to be a part of or could ever fit into, and all she wants is to have her mother back. But then again, after that dreadful night of betrayal, does she really?
INGREDIENTS: a stuffed giraffe, high tops, a seizure, "Be Someone's Hero," a kid hanging in a tree by his overall straps, The Little Mermaid soundtrack, and a ripped-up Mother's Day card.
MAIN CHARACTER: Carley is a tough Las Vegas girl who grew up shopping for clothes in the Salvation Army bins late at night and who slept in the bathtub whenever her mom threw a party. One of her greatest talents is the ability to hide her emotions really well, and if there's one thing she believes, it's that crying is a sign of weakness. I can relate to pretty much none of these things, but I loved Carley anyway. At times she made me want to laugh; at times she made my heart ache.
THEMES: There are many words of wisdom in One for the Murphys for those who are going through similar things as Carley. For foster kids who may not feel they belong, for kids with an abusive parent or parents, etc. But for those of us with loving families, this book also explores the topics of betrayal, courage, and friendship.
LIKES: One thing I appreciated about this book was that the author didn't save the beautiful tearjerker for only the end. Sure, there were harsh moments (for example, Mr. Murphy practically accusing Carley of doing drugs), but there were wonderful moments too. Somehow, Lynda Mullaly Hunt managed to weave a lot of humor and happiness into the good times as well as working a lot of despair into the bad ones. It was an especially well-crafted portrayal of reality's rapid ups and downs.
DISLIKES: God's name was used in vain enough times to annoy me, but other than that, there's nothing about the content or writing style (or anything about the book, really) that I didn't like.
RECOMMENDED: If you enjoy realistic fiction, stories about family, or sad but beautiful endings, then One for the Murphys is the book for you!