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Amy Mazzariello has commented on (4) products.

In Search of Mockingbird by Loretta Ellsworth
In Search of Mockingbird

Amy Mazzariello, July 9, 2009

In Search of Mockingbird
By Loretta Ellsworth

Erin is a 15 year old girl living in a house filled with boys. Her mother died when she was very young, her father doesn’t talk of her as often as Erin wishes he would, and her brothers are annoying young men with whom she has very little in common. She very much feels the void that her mother’s death has left, which is marginally filled by a tattered copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. Erin clings to the book and has read and reread it many times, along with personal notes her mother had scribbled into the margins as a young girl of 16.
On the eve of her 16th birthday Erin’s father hands her a journal her mother kept as a young girl. Frustrated with her father for keeping the journal from her for so many years, Erin decides to take an unannounced trip to Montgomery, Alabama in search Harper Lee. She finds herself in search of a conversation with Lee that will bring her closer to her mother, and will make her a better writer (as she, like her mother and Lee shares this trait), but most of all she just wants to be in the presence of the woman who had such a huge impact on her mother’s life and as a result, her own.
This is an inspiring tale of a girl who longs for the closeness of her dead mother. You won’t be sorry that you’ve decided to take a backseat on the bus to Montgomery because the cast of characters is great, and Erin’s wit and determination is one to inspire all readers, young and older.

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(5 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne Lafleur
Love, Aubrey

Amy Mazzariello, July 3, 2009

I had everything I needed to run a household: a house, food, and a new family. From now on it would just be me and Sammy-the two of us, and no one else.

Aubrey is an 11 year old girl who, along with her mother has survived a horrific car accident that took the lives of her father and younger sister Savanna. When we first meet Aubrey she is living alone in her family’s house while waiting for her mother’s return. Finally, after weeks pass (and Aubrey stops answering the phone) she receives a visitor. After a series of persistent knocking that quickly turn into frantic banging Aubrey reluctantly opens the door. She is met with her grandmother. This begins the long process of healing that Aubrey so desperately needs. The first step includes Aubrey packing only the items she’ll be able to carry as she, her grandmother and Sammy (her Beta fish) board a train that will take them north to Vermont. Once there Aubrey is greeted each morning with a small list of the day’s chores, three well balanced meals, and before she knows it a new best friend. This is a beautiful story, told through the voice of a bruised child, about a tenacious little girl and her struggle to let go of the family she once knew while find what it takes to embrace the new family standing before her.
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Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun
Miles from Nowhere

Amy Mazzariello, February 26, 2009

Miles from Nowhere is Nami Muns debut novel. A work of urban fiction set in the 1980‘s, Miles from Nowhere is the story of a young Korean girl who wanders into the underground playground of New York’s misguided, lost, and broken children.

As I read this book I found myself in streets and buildings reminiscent of Hubert Selby’s, Last Exit to Brooklyn. I’m not sure if this comparison is due to the familiar way in which both authors show the character of the city, which could be any city but, incidentally, is New York in both accounts; or if it is due to the way in which each author depicts the voice of their characters. Either way, I felt I had visited Mun’s city through Selby’s words once before.

Mun’s Joon is a girl who chooses street life over life with her mentally unstable mother and alcoholic, homesick father. Joon appears to watch her parents struggle with themselves and each other from the shadows of their home. She doesn’t seem to really mind that she’s not the focus or even in the periphery of her parents lives, or that she is actually more of an assistant in her mother’s struggle to keep her father from other women and alcohol. Aware of her inability to affect change and tired of watching the circular life of her parents, she decides to walk away.

Once in the embrace of her new "concrete mother", Joon finds herself being led down many dark paths. She encounters endless characters that have chosen a similar fate filled with endless turmoil and misfortune. Joon remains quiet throughout her own maturation. She seems to maintain a child-like demeanor that keeps her safe from the overwhelming cynicism that threatens to take hold of her and her peers, consume them and condemn them to a life full of grit, violence and self destruction.

I found myself following Joon along her path, in and out of buildings, relationships and incidents. Though this story has been told before, Mun tells it in a way that sets her apart. She allows Joon to maintain a level of innocence that she carries with her as she drifts along, and loosely navigates the muddy waters of the life she‘s chosen. Mun’s words took me to places that quickened my heart much in the same way a mother’s heart quickens while she watches her toddling babe navigate a flight of rigid stairs. I found myself sighing in relief as Joon continuously succeeded in her navigation.

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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Man in the Dark: A Novel
Man in the Dark: A Novel

amy mazzariello, October 13, 2008

Auster once again has proven himself to be a true storyteller. I have to say I really enjoyed this book. This is the tale of a man who is in the elder stages of life. A retired book critic, Brill has recently lost his wife, and has found himself with a badly broken leg after enduring a car accident. In an effort to “heal” his wounds Brill decides to dwell in the home of his adult daughter and granddaughter who, too, find themselves with similar feelings of hurt and loss.

Brill spends his days resting on a couch watching movies with his granddaughter who is trying to come to terms with the loss of her boyfriend, and his brutal passing. In their effort to climb out of the darkness they begin critiquing the characters in the stories they watch unfold. By night Brill finds he’s unable to sleep. As he lies awake in the darkness he begins to tell himself a story of an America that is in the middle of a civil war. The war had started in 2000 after the botched election, and NY, WA, OR and CA have broken from the union to become the independent states of America. In his storytelling he creates a character that awakens to find he’s at the bottom of a deep pit. He hears the war going on above him but has no idea how he got in the pit, where the pit is located, and which war he has suddenly woken up in the middle of.

As Brill lies awake he begins to face what it is he so desperately wants to avoid. While the story of the dumfounded soldier becomes more intense, so does the mental anguish Brill comes to find himself in. Until one night his grieving granddaughter knocks on his door in search of a story; the true life story of Brill and her deceased grandmother.

Auster’s ability to effortlessly guide me in and out of the darkness is the result of true story telling mastery.

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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

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