Sunday, January 21, 2018

Once You Know This by Emily Blejwas

Brittany's teacher wants his students to dream big and imagine a bright future but Brittany can't see past her life right now.  Her grandmother doesn't talk anymore, there's no money, someone needs to take care of her younger brother, and her mom can't seem to get out of her abusive relationship.  Brittany decides she needs to make a plan to turn her family's future around but she can't imagine what steps she could take to make that happen.  When a letter arrives for her grandmother, signed by "Fuzzy", Brittany begins investigating who that is and if it might be the opening she needs.

This is one of those books that's pretty difficult to sum up and make sound enticing.  In truth, I didn't find it all that enticing myself, although I don't have any particular problems with it either.  Life for Brittany and the other students in her class and neighborhood is shown as pretty hard, with no one aiming as high as their teacher would like for them.  I think that's important to show in literature because there aren't all that many books set in places where it's (almost) impossible to get out.  But the grim reality of Brittany's life that Blejwas shows us is then undercut by the nearly magical way out that is provided.  As a reader, I'm happy to see Brittany finally have some hope and am hopeful for her future.  As a cynical person in the real world, I found it too easy and I wonder about her mom's ability to not choose yet another loser to hook up with after they get away from this loser. 

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