Some people are raised to believe that all matters are black and white. This is good, that is bad. This is acceptable, that is not. Someone is eitherSome people are raised to believe that all matters are black and white. This is good, that is bad. This is acceptable, that is not. Someone is either alive, or he is dead. From the outside looking in, this may appear to be oppressive. On the other hand, these people already have all of the answers, they know what they can do, and what they cannot---it is that simple. Until it isn’t.
Kate and Mary are sisters, raised by a very strict Protestant Reverend and his dutiful wife. In their mother, they found joy. Kate and her mother shared a special, secret dream. Together, they talked of Kate attending Stanford and becoming a doctor. Mary also shared her dream with her mother, only it was no secret. Mary is an extraordinary artist, particularly for her young age. She sees a light around people and is able to subtly work that into her paintings. Mother is proud of Mary and she enthusiastically supports her younger daughter. Father thinks painting is a waste of time and he simply assumes that Kate will follow his plan; stay active in church, get married and raise a family. So, for a while, Kate and Mary have the simplicity of knowing what is acceptable and what is not and they experience joy and fantasies with their mother.
A terrible accident leaves their mom in a vegetative state with only a part-time nurse to help the girls care for her needs. Poor health has father meeting his maker while sixteen year old Mary sits by his side. Two years her senior, Mary looks to Kate to figure out how they will get by. Their house belongs to the church, Kate has Stanford waiting and Mary is too young to be on her own; but finding someone to take her and her mother in seems impossible.
Mr. Stork masterfully captures the stoicism and detachment that, at first, encompass the household. By sprinkling in bits of family history, he coaxes empathy from the reader. The girls’ characters develop as they struggle to leave the confines of their black and white world and make decisions they’ve never imagined. Kate’s use of her newfound freedom may amplify their troubles. The choices they are faced with could bring them closer, or forever rip them apart.
I found this story to be enlightening and compelling. I will certainly pick up another Francisco X. Stork book.
I love this book. So much, in fact, that this review is surprisingly difficult for me to write. I don’t want to just gush about how much I enjoyed it,I love this book. So much, in fact, that this review is surprisingly difficult for me to write. I don’t want to just gush about how much I enjoyed it, and I most certainly don’t want to give away too much.
The Look is an outstanding tale of two sisters, each experiencing life-altering changes that no one could have predicted. They turn to each other. Seeing the evolution of their relationship was tremendously satisfying. While the girls are completely different, they are both charismatic and loveable, making the whole story almost tangible.
Ted Trout is tall, lanky with constantly disheveled hair, and a uni-brow. For most 15 year old girls, this would be a nightmare. She accepts it and goes about her business. Immediately, I loved Ted. Her matter-of-fact way of dealing with things is unique and intriguing. She often cracked me up. I think everyone will admire this cheeky girl who tends to go with the flow, without being passive. The reader almost feels proud as Ted begins to realize, then embrace, the fact that she is a strong and confident girl.
Ava is the older sister. She is gorgeous, sweet and totally smitten with her simply awesome boyfriend. All is right in her world until she learns that she has cancer. But wait---this is not a “cancer” book. Ava is intricate to the story, yes, but she is not the main character and her disease is not the central theme. Ava won’t allow herself to be consumed by this, so she focuses all of her energy on Ted and the changes she is making.
To me, this book is about self-discovery. Learning that you can hear peoples’ opinions, but you get to choose which advice to follow; most importantly, you get to determine the impact the words have on you. Mistakes will made, but acknowledgment and an effort to correct will go a long way. Leaving your comfort zone is imperative for growth. You can try something new, hate it, yet still garner valuable insight. When you are honest with yourself and you follow your heart, you won’t be wrong. We all have a confidence and strength inside of us, we just may need to work hard to find it.
Please, read The Look. I like everything about it, and I bet you will too.
**This review was written for the Buried Under Books blog.