Thursday, January 6, 2011

REVIEW: North of Beautiful

By Justina Chen Headley
Feb 2009
 Little Brown and Company
 ISBN-10: 0316025054
  ISBN-13: 9780316025058

What it’s about…..

Terra is the daughter of a cartographer and homemaker and youngest of three kids.  She and her brothers are named after map names or terms, as is the case with her.  What further distinguishes her from the rest is something called a port wine stain, a dark red birthmark that has spread over time and at present takes up most of one of her cheeks. She tries to hide it as best she can whether it be with her hair or loads of makeup.  Over the years she been to various doctors and conferences about it, but still it remains.
            Her father is another source of pain and stress in her life/  He is VERY critical of everyone stemming from some map related failure many years ago.  She, being the baby of the family, still has to deal with it on a daily basis. She spends most of her time around him protecting her mother from his many insults by deflecting them onto her.  Her brothers, one off at college the other working in China have escaped his wrath and now she barely sees either of them.  Things have been this way for years and it seems that things will continue to be that way forever.  That is, until she meets Jacob, who she literally almost runs into on the way back from a doctors appointment. They get to talking and almost instantly become friends, He makes her think and disarms and challenges her in a way that nobody every has before.  For the first time she is thinking for herself and deciding to do thinks because she wants to and not because its what her dad wants her to do.

What I think…..

I liked this novel a lot! It is relate able to everyone, but especially to those that face adversity.  In the beginning of the novel Terra was annoying the crap out of me because she let everybody push her around. You could practically see her future in the sections with her mother who is the proverbial deer in headlights after years and years of emotional abuse.  Jacob thank goodness helps her to slowly start changing that!  I like how candidly the author shows us through her writing how Terra feels about her situation and what she is thinking. You can tell very much she did her research and did a very good job of creating a exceptional mental  picture.  Anyone that has gone through situations like these or knows someone who is will get a lot out of this novel.


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