My weekend reading consisted of trying to find time to fit in a wonderful middle grade/young adult novel, Comfort by Joyce Moyer Hostetter. Ann Fay has been afflicted with polio, and has just returned home from the hospital where she was staying. Her father has also returned home from fighting in World War II. Both are changed from their experiences. Ann Fay has grown up quickly, and wishes she could run and play like she used to. Her friends have moved on without her and she must stay in eighth grade, while her peers move on to ninth. Her father's problems aren't visible, but he is plagued by nightmares and just isn't the same man he was before he left. He is short tempered with his children and wife and doesn't seem to want to find a job. Ann Fay starts working at the local grocery store on Saturdays to help out with expenses and makes friends there with the regular customers. Otis, a customer that many of the regulars become irritated with wants to talk about the war - a topic the other men try to avoid.
Ann Fay has the opportunity to spend time at Warm Springs, President Roosevelt's rehabilitation facility for polios. When she is with others like her Ann Fay fits in. She develops many friends there and improves her physical skills greatly. However, when her neighbor, Junior, shows up telling her that her mother needs her at home, Ann Fay knows she must leave Warm Springs immediately. Her father's problems have become worse, and the once loving and gentle man has given her mother a black eye. Ann Fay's ability to deal with these problems and help her family show how mature she is. Ann Fay knows a bit about suffering herself, seeing as how she has gone through her own trauma with polio.
Hostetter's novel is wonderful. I felt like I could be right there with Ann Fay and her family the whole time. Hostetter includes notes at the book's end to share different facts about polio, and the effects of war on soldier during World War II, and Warm Springs. While this is the sequel to Blue, which I am looking forward to reading, I didn't feel as though I was missing anything by not having read that book first. My only regret is the fact that there is not another book about Ann Fay and her family. Wonderful historical fiction.
Check out Joyce Moyer Hostetter's website.