by Jayne Pupek
I was very fortunate to win a free copy of Tomato Girl from a blog giveaway at Bermudaonion's. The book looked like a good one so I didn't waste much time getting to it. And it was good but it wasn't easy. I have never been so mad at fictional characters since reading Anna Karenina.
Ellie is our 11 year old protagonist. She is the only child of a mentally disturbed mother and a cheating father. Poor Ellie only partially understands what is going on around her and is totally unable to do anything about it. As the mother of an 11 year old daughter, at first I thought Ellie didn't ring true but as I continued to read and to understand the circumstances of Ellie's existence I could see that it was entirely within reason for a child this age to contain the paradigm of childishness/maturity that she had. The reader, being an adult acquainted with the pains of this world, is forced to be as powerless as Ellie, observing helplessly as her parents spiral out of control, destroying their family and the innocence of their daughter all in one fell swoop.
How many times did I fight back tears? How many times did I put the book aside for fear of the inevitable? How many times did I want to pull my own daughter into my arms and promise to never put my selfish desires above her needs? But thank heavens for the ending. It was perfect.
Jayne Pupek told a heartrending story masterfully. I am left feeling cleansed. If there is ever another story about Ellie I will be the first in line to buy it. She is a character I will not easily forget.
Buy this book from Amazon.