Sallie's Reviews > The Princess of Las Pulgas

The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie
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's review
May 01, 2012

it was amazing
Read from May 10 to 23, 2012

Nothing prepares you for the loss of a parent, nothing! We meet Carlie Edmund and her family at her father 19s bedside, on his death bed. All too soon, or maybe not soon enough, Carlie is drowning in the loud silence of grief. While being pummeled by an agony so deep that it bores into her bones, Carlie suffers yet another blow that further rocks her tremulous attempts at survival. The loss of her father, her safe harbor, support and comfort is followed by the loss of her family home. It 19s more than any 16 year old should have to deal with, but such is the nature of life, the harbinger of change isn 19t always good.

Carlie has never given any consideration to the accoutrements of her upper middle class life. Prior to her father 19s death, Carlie spent her days wondering who would ask her to the dance, shopping for designer clothes, texting friends and daydreaming while looking out her bedroom windows at the Pacific Ocean. But not anymore; Carlie, her brother, Keith, and her mother, Sara, move to the other side of town, to Las Pulgas. For Carlie, Las Pulgas might as well be Pluto. The shabby apartment complex 19s sidewalks are littered; dumpsters are conspicuously lined up and are an ugly welcome. The apartment doesn 19t provide the slightest refuge. The walls are thin, the neighbors are screaming, and music is blasting. For the first time in her life, Carlie is ashamed of what she doesn 19t have, her mother of what she can 19t provide and her brother of being forced to attend a school that he and his former track team mates held in low esteem.

The forced move is palatably agonizing for Carlie as she struggles with pain and guilt, Keith with anger, and Sara with loneliness and depression. They 19re all besieged, but it 19s Carlie who drives the story. The reader watches Carlie question who she is and her beliefs about people. Carlie learns of prejudices she didn 19t realize she had and not to judge or misjudge based on economic class and skin color. In other words, Carlie grows up, maturing, accepting and respecting.

There 19s so much more I could say, but I 19m trying not to giveaway away too much. But let it be said loud and clear, this is a must read! C. Lee McKenzie 19s story is beautiful and at times reads like poetry. For those who have experienced losing a parent, you will recognize C. Lee McKenzie 19s tableaus of the overt vestiges of grief as well as those known only to the individual as galvanic. There is nothing desultory in C. Lee McKenzie 19s delivery. Watch Carlie rise from the ashes of sorrow like the mythical phoenix and you will root for her every step of the way.

Reviewed by:
Sallie Lundy-Frommer
Author of Yesterday 19s Daughter

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02/22/2016 marked as: read

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