Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Shore Girl by Fran Kimmel

By the time Rebee Shore turns 21, she has lived in almost every part of Alberta. Calgary author Fran Kimmel uses multiple voices to present a heartbreaking portrait of a lonely girl and her enigmatic mother. It starts with Rebee at age two, left alone in a hotel room.

Rebee is a memorable character, stoic yet fragile, and pretty much raising herself. She and her mother often live out of their van. The pair touch the hearts of other solitary people as they pass through their lives. Rebee's greatest hope is for a real home, somewhere to stay for longer than a few months. I was rooting for her all the way.

The Shore Girl is on the shortlist of the Alberta Readers' Choice Award. Voting ends on May 17 and right now I'm torn between this book and Bowling's The Tinsmith.

Readalikes: Girlchild (Tupelo Hassman); Lullabies for Little Criminals (Heather O'Neill); and The Lesser Blessed (Richard Van Camp).

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