by Susan Henderson
Tillie\’s house holds secrets. From the outside, it appears orderly- just as her precise, meticulous military father wants it- unless you count the door her mother sealed shut with blue paint. Inside things are troubled; her mother struggles with a mental illness which her father refuses to acknowledge. I\’m not sure if he was just stubborn about admitting anything was wrong with his family, or just ignorant (story is set in the seventies) about depression in general. But he treats her like crap, berating and yelling and demanding more, when she crumples up and can\’t function. Of course the kids don\’t understand what\’s happening to their mother either; the older boy distances himself and tries to act properly according to his father\’s rules; Tillie tries to help and protect her mom and lashes out occasionally at school. I felt for the little girl. It was hard to tell how much of her erratic behavior was due to her living situation, how much to her free-thinking independence, and how much to what she suffered unknowingly from her own mother\’s hands… Up from the Blue is quite a story. Eager page-turning. I nearly cried at the end, but then any scene with a new infant and mother tugs my heart these days.
I really love the title, although I never really figured out what it referred to!
Rating: 3/5 …….. 317 pages, 2010