by Suzanne LaFleur
Listening Library, 2009
Review by Christian Perring on Jul 28th 2009
Love, Aubrey is a tale of a child's grief and her steps on the road to recovery. The book starts with her living on her own in her house, eating cheese as much as she wants. Her mother is not around. As she tells her story, the reader is able to piece together the information that there was an accident a few months ago, and that her father and little sister died. But Aubrey does not like talking about it, so it takes a while to sort out the facts, and much of the information never becomes very clear.
After a few days, Aubrey's grandmother realizes that something is up and so comes down from Vermont to Virginia to check on them. When it becomes clear that Aubrey's mother has left home leaving Aubrey all alone, they go back to Vermont. It is summer, and so Aubrey does not yet have to go to school. She makes friends with the girl who lives next door, Bridget, and her little sister Mable. She goes to school when the fall comes along, and she starts seeing a school counselor to talk about her feelings. One of the astute parts of the story is that Aubrey is actually not very good at talking about her feelings, and often when she has strong feelings she becomes overwhelmed. One of her most frequent reactions is to throw up. However, Aubrey does relive the past through some selective memories, and she also writes letters to people, starting with her sister Savannah's imaginary friend. Those are ways she comes to deal with her feelings.
On top of the loss of Aubrey's father and sister is her abandonment by her mother. This greatly increases her sense of vulnerability, and although she comes to understand that her mother had some sort of breakdown, she still feels some anger and loss of trust over her mother's behavior, and even when her mother is located, she is not ready to speak to Aubrey, and it is is some time before she is willing to come to visit. Aubrey's sense of rejection and her longing for her mother are acute, so her mother's behavior remains confusing for her. It is clear that it will take some time for the relationship to be healed. On the other hand, Aubrey's relationship with her grandmother and her best friend Bridget grow stronger, and they really provide her with strength.
So Love, Aubrey is a touching and thoughtfully written book about a young girl's mourning. The unabridged audiobook is performed with considerable emotional realism and sensitivity by Becca Battoe.
© 2009 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.