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The Happiness of Katiby Jane Vejjajiva
Synopses & Reviews
Nine-year-old Kati has always lived with her grandparents in the house by the river. Every day she goes to school, brings offerings to the monks, and plays with Tong, the abbot's nephew. She is happy enough, but something — someone — is missing.
Kati has not seen her mother for nearly five years, and no one will tell her where she is, until the day she receives some shocking news from Grandmother: Her mother is very ill with Lou Gehrig's disease and has suffered from it for many years. Would Kati like to go see her?
And so Kati travels to the house by the sea to spend the last weeks of her mother's life with her. There she learns the reason why her mother gave her up and also finds that she has a decision...to meet the father she's never known.
A singular story of love, hope, and renewal, set against the lushly exotic background of Thailand, The Happiness of Kati is a profoundly touching novel that reminds us of how very brave, and very wise, children can be.
"First novelist Vejjajiva creates a sensuous Thai setting as a backdrop to the mysteries with which nine-year-old Kati grapples. Readers learn about the daily rhythms of the small town on the water where Kati lives with her grandparents, their elaborate preparations for meals and for collecting water, trips to the Buddhist shrine and Kati's schoolday, as well as exotic flowers and fauna. Her mother's absence creates a pervasive emptiness for Kati, until her grandmother asks if she wants to see her mother. The girl then learns that her mother suffers from ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease). The text contains dramatic tales, such as how her mother accidentally set four-year old Kati out to sea and resolved to separate from her in order to protect her after that. The narrative offers a familiar message about happiness being tied to home. 'There could be no happier place than home, and the house on the water was truly Kati's home.' Unfortunately, because the girl's relatives reveal most of the answers for which she searches (rather than Kati searching for them herself). Kati never fully emerges from the shadow of her family members. The choice she makes in the end, however, offers a true surprise and confirmation of the heroine's inner strength. Ages 9-12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This singular story of love, hope, and renewal set against the lushly exotic background of Thailand is a profoundly touching book that reminds how very brave--and very wise--children can be.
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