4 out of 4 stars
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Deborah Spencer’s life gets complicated as her father leaves when she is just a kid and her mother gets addicted to alcohol. As a result, Debbie’s mom, Carol Spencer, is taken to Alcoholics Anonymous to recover. Uncle Lloyd takes Debbie to The Evergreen Home, popularly called The Home, where orphans and kids from troubled homes are catered for. The kids at The Home don’t know that Debbie is not an orphan like them because there doesn’t seem to be any difference between her and the other kids.
At The Home, Debbie makes friends with Noreen, Paul, Sharon, and Mary Ellen. They give her the feeling of siblings she never had. Debbie finds herself loving Mary Ellen as though she were her kid sister. But Beverly Jensen, a rude, spoiled girl is brought to The Home, and she begins to bully Mary Ellen. Debbie would have to protect Mary Ellen like a big sister. But could it be that they are actually related or fate just brought these two strangers together?
Unwanted by Mary E. Sandford is a fictional story based on real-life facts. The book has 41 chapters. The 40 chapters with uniform prefixes were well-thought-out. This book chronicles the life experiences of young Debbie Spencer who got her overwhelming share of ups and downs at a very tender age. Being taunted at The Home, the community, and her school, Hirsch Elementary School, twelve-year-old Debbie begins to think that she is Unwanted. But is she really unwanted, or she’s looking for acceptance from the wrong people?
Debbie is the protagonist, and the story is written in the first-person narrative. Debbie is a good Christian girl with a disciplined character, thanks to her grandma, which she usually called Gram. Gram had a deep influence on Debbie. Even though Gram had passed on, her words of wisdom and advice were very much alive in Debbie’s heart. Gram’s words kept guiding Debbie’s decisions and actions to love people and always seek the good of others. She consistently stood for what’s right, no matter who was involved.
What I liked most was how Debbie stood up to her teacher, Mr. Kelly, who kept talking her down and punishing her unfairly. Mr. Kelly had a special love for Roberta Solomon and they both taunted Debbie in their unique ways. How is Debbie going to cope in class with this form of bullying upon the crisis she’s already going through? Will she succumb or overcome?
Even though most of this book is fiction, some parts are non-fiction. The fire incident that claimed 95 lives, including nuns, teachers, and children, at Our Lady of the Angels School, Chicago, happened on December 1, 1958. This event really affected the lives of those who lost loved ones and witnessed the incident, and through this book, their memory lives on. One can’t help but wonder what caused the fire.
This being Mary E. Sandfords’ debut book, I must commend her for a job well done and the deep research she carried out to produce this intriguing read. The book was perfectly presented and had a happy ending with no loose end. There were no negatives. There was nothing I disliked about the book. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
The writing style was expository and narrative. The suspense was mild and the tension was moderate. The pace was well-developed. The tale was engaging as I journeyed with Debbie through her experiences. The book was professionally proofread. I only noticed four errors — a missing genitive, an unnecessary pronoun, an extra modal verb, and a capitalization error. However, these errors do not affect the smooth read.
As I journeyed with Debbie, I felt her pain and joy. I also like the bit of humor the author added to ease the tension. This book makes us realize what orphans really go through psychologically. They are so hopeful, wishing for someone to want them enough to show them love. I strongly recommend this book to orphans, kids having trouble at home, and parents. As often as we can, let’s try to visit orphanage homes around us and show those precious kids that they are loved and wanted.
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