Melanie Goodman's Reviews > Fixing Delilah

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
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Nov 26, 2010

Read in November, 2010

Sarah Ockler clearly knows how to write about love and loss. Her first book, Twenty Boy Summer, was a heartbreaking exploration of moving on after the loss of a boyfriend. In Fixing Delilah, Delilah Hanniford moves to Vermont for a summer after the death of her grandmother. Delilah hadn’t seen her grandmother in years; her mother wouldn’t take her back to visit after a mysterious fight at her grandfather’s funeral. Relationships, it seems, are not the Hannaford womens’ strong suit–the ties between mothers and daughters and sisters are all broken and buried under layers of secrets. When Delilah gets involved in her grandmother’s estate sale, she begins to learn more her family’s murky past. Along the way, she also finds friendship and romance in her childhood best friend, Patrick.

This book is primarily about family relationships. Ockler shows the complexity of a family that is so heavily burdened by its secrets that all the family members shut each other out. Her portrayal of Delilah’s mother, a woman who buries herself in her work at the expense of time with her daughter, is one that will likely resonate with many teens. The secondary relationship was that between Delilah and Patrick; here, as with her first book, Ockler demonstrated her ability to build romantic tension. I loved watching their childhood friendship bloom into a more adult relationship, and I appreciated how much the reader could learn about Delilah through her treatment of Patrick.

Overall, Twenty Boy Summer still had a stronger emotional impact on me, but I think that those who enjoyed Ockler’s portrayal of grief and romance before will likely be pleased by this representation of similar topics.
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