Tuesday, March 17, 2009
EVERYTHING IS FINE by Ann Dee Ellis
Mazzy's family has fallen apart. A tragedy almost too horrible to imagine has broken down communication and left the remaining family members drifting in different directions.
Mazzy's father left on a business trip months ago and never returned. He tries to communicate by phone, but Mazzy can't seem to form the words that need to be said, so most of the time when he calls she hangs up.
Mazzy's mother is gone in a different sense. She stays in her room and in her bed, not moving or saying a word. Her body is there, but her mind has gone to a place not even Mazzy can reach.
When outsiders like Norma, the neighbor, or Mazzy's best friend Colby ask how things are going, Mazzy's response is always the same, "Everything is fine." But nosy Mrs. Peet, the government lady, knows things are anything but fine. She threatens to intervene, but it will take more than a social worker to fix what's wrong with Mazzy's family.
Ann Dee Ellis takes readers inside the mind of a young girl to tell the story of a family crisis. She uses prose only a hair away from being verse, and it is the perfect choice to illustrate Mazzy's tenuous grasp on reality and life at the moment. I found myself captivated by her desire to create a peaceful world for herself and her mother by avoiding the truth. Despite the tragic tone set right from the beginning, the character of Mazzy radiates a hope and determination that amazed me.