Cathy's Reviews > How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
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's review
Aug 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: realistic-fiction, teen-book, audiobook
Read in August, 2012

I really like Sara Zarr, but am not a fan of her narratng her own books, so I was pleased to see this audiobook had another narrator, two in fact; Ariadne Meyers and Cassandra Morris. The book is written from alternate view points. One voice is that of 18 year old Mandy, who is expecting a baby and has arranged to have an open adoption with a recently widowed woman, Robyn. The other voice is Robyn's daughter Jill. Jill has been depressed since her dad died and she has isolated herself from all her old friends and her boyfriend. Jill Is very upset about Mandy coming to live with them, the adoption and everything. At one point she even calls Mandy an incubator and asks someone to investigate Mandy to see if she's pulling a scam on her mom. The reader who does her voice captures her sarcasm while Mandy is read with a young, naive voice.

As to the title, there is more than one person whose life needs saving. None of the characters is perfect,all are complex, even Robyn who seems so together is completely inattentive to Mandy's neediness. I'm not sure if I can buy her unawareness, considering her level of education and the good job she's done as a parent to Jill. Is she blinded by her own desires to adopt Mandy's baby or am I seeing something that isn't there. Since we don't really know what's going on in Robyn's mind, it's hard to say.

Characters who seemed weak turn out to be stronger than you would have thought. It is a moving book about abuse and neglect but also family, love, life and redemption.
4 1/2 stars

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