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Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Taste of Words, the Novel by Ginny Yttrup



Author Ginny Yttrup is one of the presenters at the writers' conference in Elk Grove tomorrow. I hoped to finish her book, Words, by today in order to provide a decent book review before the conference. I read last night until my eyes burned, my eyelids kept flopping shut, and the bats all flew out of the iPad. Even then, I really hated to put it down. But, since I’m only part-way through the book, you only get as much as I can provide. Although—you could go to her website and read more about it and about Ginny.

The two main characters are Kaylee, a 10-year-old girl, and Shannon, a 30-ish artist who renames herself Sierra.

Kaylee lost her ability to speak when her mother disappeared the year before, leaving this innocent child in the hands of a vicious pedophile. The man, one in a string of men her mother lived with, punished Kaylee for her mother’s disappearance by beating and raping her. He repeated the punishments many times over the following year, a year where Kaylee didn’t dare leave. She wouldn’t leave for three reasons: (1) She didn’t know where to go—the man’s house was at the end of a long dirt wilderness road; the man told her if she tried to leave, she’d be sorry; and (3) there was a chance her mother might return—maybe she just had amnesia. That was one of the words Kaylee found in her hidden dictionary, a cherished book she read from cover to cover. Kaylee loved words. She couldn’t say them out loud—but she could store them in the memory box in her head.

Sierra had her own troubles. Twelve years before, she lost her baby girl, Annie, to a premature birth brought on by drug use. Her parents and her best friend, Ruby, got her off the drugs after Ruby discovered Sierra was pregnant, but it was too late to save the baby. Sierra couldn’t stop the guilt—it overwhelmed her. She pushed everyone away in order to keep the feelings at bay. Still, she visited the tiny grave often, especially on the date of Annie’s birth—and death.

Sierra drove to a deserted area to grieve yet again. Kaylee watched her from her hiding place, the fire-hollowed trunk of a huge redwood. Redwoods are resilient—another of Kaylee’s favorite words—and the tree still lived despite the damage. It seemed like God intended them to meet, one scared little girl craving love, and one grieving mother without a child to give her love to. But how can Sierra get this skittish little girl away from this terrible man?

Okay—now you have a taste of Words. Come to the writers’ conference and meet the author...

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