Saturday, September 17, 2011
Without Tess by Marcella Pixley
Tess and Lizzie are sisters, sisters as close as can be, who share a secret world filled with selkies, flying horses, and a girl who can transform into a wolf in the middle of the night. But when Lizzie is ready to grow up, Tess clings to their fantasies. As Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her delusions, she decides that she can’t live in the real world any longer and leaves Lizzie and her family forever. Now, years later, Lizzie is in high school and struggling to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of a school psychologist and Tess’s battered journal, Lizzie searches for a way to finally let Tess go.
WITHOUT TESS isn’t an easy story and only got sadder as it progressed, yet I’d still recommend it to someone looking for something quietly emotional but definitely different. There are a lot of hard emotions in this one and I think those emotions were only compounded by how young Tess was (Liz as well) and how helpless Liz must have felt.
Someone said that WITHOUT TESS touches a little on what the sisters of Imaginary Girls were like. I would agree, only Tess and Liz’s is less magical and a little more of something else: a sister who believed in the impossible and another who wanted to believe.
But it’s not all sad, helpless or angry because there were moments that showed just how connected the writer is to her audience. Descriptions of overly enthusiastic teachers and what not, rang true to me. And if you cannot crack a smile at a double entendre , well, you might be too young or too old for this one.
As for Liz despite all her ‘woe is me, I am sad and I am depressed and unlike most everyone else here,’ I can say that I liked her. Her recollections of her young self, showed precisely what kind of a relationship she had with Tess. And that was sad to read, but still revealing. But Liz, in the present, was a different matter altogether.
The one thing that I have to complain of is how things are resolved. Everything ends too neatly. And through who and how was this resolution (of sorts) attained? Read the book! And despite this, WITHOUT TESS really is quietly emotional but with an ending that leaves one hopeful.
THANK YOU NET GALLEY!