Light from a Distant Star
by: Mary McGarry Morris
- ISBN-13: 9780307451880
- Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
- Publication date: 7/17/2012
- Pages: 336
- Sales rank: 401,440
- Product dimensions: 5.30 x 7.86 (h) x 0.73 (d)
Summary: Nellie is in charge of taking care of her younger brother Henry for the summer. The adults are just too busy. Her mother is working as much as she can at the salon, and when she is home, she is always complaining about the lack of money that they have. Her father owns the family hardware store, but really spends all of his time working on a history of the city. In order to help with finances, the apartment in the basement is rented out to a young erotic dancer. This sets Nellie off on an adventure that has several ups and downs. To begin with, Nellie is fascinated with this dancer. She loves to eaves drop on her by listening in through the walls. Dolly, the dancer, then becomes a little more part of the family as she talks to Nellie’s older sister and mother. In the meantime, Max has started working with Nellie’s grandfather. Max is another fascination for Nellie. She likes talking to him. He seems to be the only adult that treats her as more than just a little kid. The problem is, she can tell that Max is interested in Dolly, but several men seem to be interested in her. She’s also seen Mr. Cooper, a local businessman, hanging around Dolly. She’s overheard conversations with Dolly on the phone with a man she seems to be dating. It’s all rather unclear. Then, something horrible happens! There is a murder and Nellie may be the only one that knows what really happened. This spirals Nellie into a moral dilemma. She tells one person the truth to what she believes it to be, but is told that she may be wrong. Nellie has to deal with the trial and attempting to figure out what is right and what is wrong. Who knows if she may be ruining one persons life to save someone who could be guilty.
My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The murder doesn’t happen until about half way through the book, but I could have done without that and the aftermath. I loved just following Nellie around as she lived her daily life through the summer. Her interactions with all that are around her and her astute observations are fun to be a part of. I love the lazy summer stories that just allow you to delve into the characters. Once the murder happens, things spiral around that and her attempts to hold things in or tell them out. I didn’t enjoy the last half of the novel as much as the first. I felt like I lost some of my connection with Nellie. It is realistic for a little girl to be obsessed with one particular topic. It is also frustrating when people don’t seem to believe her when she shares information. Towards the end of the novel, I felt bad that we have lost the innocent and observant child from the beginning; however, I appreciated Nellie’s character arc and found overall the book to be a great read.