You will love Susan Henderson’s stunning novel, “Up From The Blue,” no matter what kind of childhood you had, but if being a child was hard for you, if you didn’t feel loved as a child, even though, on the surface, things seemed to be normal in your existence, you will totally relate to Tillie, the protagonist of this story.
When people move, they usually leave behind things, things too cumbersome to bring with them, or things not really needed. When Tillie’s family moved, so that her, on the surface, successful career military father could, once again, advance his career, not only were many of Tillie’s favorite toys left behind, in the process, but, somehow, her not quite right in the head mother got lost in the shuffle. For this, Tillie points a finger at her father, as she so often does through out this book.
I don’t think that I have ever cared so much about a character in a book. Each page that I learn a bit about Tillie makes me want to jump to the next page to learn more about Tillie. I care about Tillie, and my heart aches for her. I want to see her have a happy ending.
Though the two books are greatly disimilar, Ms. Henderson has done the same fine job that Janine Walls did in her book, “The Glass Castle,” of involving you in the story. I was unable to put either book down.
Tillie is not an innocent victim in her world. She has a strained relationship not only with her father, but with her brother, her schoolmates, her friends, and her teacher. In a sense, she is a rebel without a cause in most of what she does, except in her relationship with her mother who she finds living, hidden, in the basement of the family’s new house.
There are bits and pieces of Holden Caufield in Tillie. Both are tortured souls, creating most of their own mental barriers, and confusion. I can’t remember if Holden worked his issues out by the end of, “The Catcher in the Rye,” and I won’t tell you if Tillie does.
I will tell you that Tillie, and Susan Henderson, will pull you into a story that is faxcinating, amazing, wonderful, brilliant, entertaining, challenging; a story that will drive you from one chapter to the next, wanting to find out what happens, but never really wanting the story to end.