Fixing Delilah is a mix of an intergenerational story and a story of teenage heartbreak and understanding. I have never seen the movie Steel Magnolias in my life but for some reason, this book reminded me of what the movie may be like. I know that is a ridiculous comparison, but honestly, that is what I was thinking as I was reading. This book is not set in the south however, nor is there a beauty parlor anywhere involved. I guess it was the small town atmosphere.
Anyway, Delilah Hannaford is a teen who is having some trouble in life. Her grades are falling, she has no friends, but she does have a boy friend with benefits. Her mom, Claire, has no idea what is going on in Delilah's life but she is determined to fix it because Delilah's mom is a fixer. She is a doer. She is a corporate climber, an ambitious woman who somehow seemed to leave her daughter in the dust. As the book opens, Delilah's mom receives awful news. Elizabeth Hannaford has passed away. Claire and her sister Rachel have not spoken to their mom in eight years. Delilah and her mom are heading to the small Pennsylvania town where the Hannaford family has lived for generations in order to get Delilah's grandmother's estate settled and get her grandmother buried.
But as Elizabeth Hannaford is being buried, a whole treasure trove of secrets about the Hannaford family are about to come to life. Being in a place so resplendent with her family's history, Delilah is intrigued and curious. There are blockades to her questions but I liked that she persevered and kept pushing until she got answers. Granted, the answers were not necessarily what she wanted to hear, but it was the truth, finally.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the sense of understanding that finally developed between the Hannaford women. I felt like, by book's end, there was peace between them and even if the past was not completely forgiven, there had made inroads.
There is also a cute romance between Delilah and a boy she grew up with, Patrick "Little Ricky" Reese. His presence once again in her life definitely gave her something new to think about. Yet another connection Delilah had almost forgotten or given up on.
I enjoyed Sarah Ockler's second book even more than her first to be honest. The emotions felt more real to me in part because I have such a strong connection with my own mother, troubles and love and all, that I really could empathize with what Delilah was feeling. I also am a sucker for family stories (hence why I love Nora Roberts' various family category romances, MacGregors anyone?).
Fixing Delilah had the feel of a slow summer day for me. The emotions were vivid and pulsed. I wanted to know, just as much as Delilah, what was going on in the Hannaford family. Teen girls in particular are going to gobble this book up. Not too sure about the cover myself, though the paper dolls are to a degree reflective of the tenuousness of Delilah's family situation.
ARC received from a friend to read!