I spent the better part of my childhood curled up in a corner with a good book. Reading and books have always brought me a sense of comfort and security. My church and chapel are bookstores and libraries. When my husband and I went on one of our first dates, we spent it at a bookstore in the children's section reminiscing about favorite young adult books that we read and loved.
Since I have been reading to my son, I have picked up quite a bit of children's literature, but it is fairly indicative of my son's tastes in books: creepy tales, dragons and boy books about poop and farts. But I do note that there are lots of young adult and children's books out there that would have appealed to me when I was his age.
Alice Ozma brought me back to all that. In her memoir, she mentioned this book about a girl who grows up in a funeral parlor. I have always loved cemeteries and funeral parlors and obituaries, and I also hunger for more children's books with female protagonists, so I thought I would stray from my usual adult memoir reading list and see how I liked this book.
Deborah Wiles won a National Book Award finalist designation for this story of Comfort Snowberger, a young girl growing up surrounded by death and dying and grappling with death in her own family as she is loosing her best friend. There is an exciting climax and a bittersweet ending and a host of interesting characters who come together in Comfort's world in and around the funeral home. The author includes witty obituaries that Comfort writes for the local paper (her writing tendencies reminded me a lot of my very favorite female protagonist, Harriet the Spy), and notes she writes back and forth with her best friend, and also a great hand drawn map of the world that Comfort occupies. Deborah also has a knack for colorful character names and places. Comfort's siblings were Tidings and Merry and her dog was Dismay.
I loved this story and I loved Comfort and am putting it on my read aloud queue after I finish my current book with my son. It is a good good story, even if you don't have a child to read it to.