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Friday, November 4, 2011

A Certain Slant of Light - A book I found at Goodwill that I fell in love with

While in New York, I browsed the book section of Goodwill in Greenwich Village.  A cover caught my eye.  The book was titled A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.  I turned the book over to read the back cover.
“That book’s in my school library,” my friend Chandra who I was shopping with said.  She works as a librarian at a charter school in Harlem.  “I’ve heard really good things about it.  You should get it.”
Usually I’m drawn to a book if I recognize the author or am referred to it by a friend, but this time I was drawn to the photo on the front of the book.  That element alone made me want to read it; haunting, beautiful and left me full of questions.
Several hours later, I boarded my long flight back to Phoenix.  I couldn’t wait to start on my book.  Before take-off, I was feasting on the first page.  I was hooked after the first sentence.  I landed in Kentucky for a lay-over.  My first time and probably only time in Kentucky and all I did was read my book!  
The next day, I woke with an urge to finish my book.  I just couldn’t put it down.  My kids, so happy to have me home, had me mentally gone for one more day as I read on the couch while they played near and out on the front porch while they played ball.  This book came with me to the gym while I walked the elliptical machine.  Later, I even sent the counselor to bed without me.
In A Certain Slant of Light the main character, Helen is a 150 year-old spirit, a young woman who has died and is uncertain why she’s still on earth.  In many ways, she feels abandoned by God and heaven.  She can’t imagine what she did wrong in her past life to keep her in this limbo hell, but she does her best to find some sort of peace with those she attaches too.   She’s a spirit in a world with no one, fighting to stay out of hell when one day a young man sees her.  As a spirit, no one has ever seen her.  It’s no surprise Helen is shocked, even frightened by this attention.  She soon learns James, too is a spirit, but he has found a way to not just hover and host near people, he can actually posses them.
Helen relinquishes her current host to be near James, hoping he’ll teach her how she too, can have a body of her own.  This journey allows her to help a family in chaos and finally find God.  A love story, A Certain Slant of Light doesn’t disappoint.  You may think this book sounds scary and dark, and although at times it is haunting, it is also full of hope and love.  It demonstrates mistakes we make that hurt others and how we can forgive.  The ending is so spiritual, I was in tears.
I’m not kidding you, when I put this book down I actually spoke out loud (and I was all alone in my living room in the middle of the night).  I looked at the photo cover of the author Laura Whitcomb and said ‘Man, girl, you can write!”
I love this new author Laura Whitcomb.  I’ve already facebook-ed her.  I had to let her know how much her novel meant to me. 
Do you every facebook or email authors from books you’ve read?  To let them know you enjoyed their book?
I recommend A Certain Slant of Light to those of you who love to read a great YA novel by an exceptional author.


  1. I need to find this book.It sounds good.

    I have emailed Janet Evanovich only because she was a laugh out loud entertaining author. I was curious as to how she came about her characters. Thanks for sharing your book review. I will look for it!~Ames

  2. Hi Laura:

    Thanks for the review. Thrilled for you that you had time to read a book on a plane--what a luxury when you have kids! :)

    I LOVE Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

    She wrote the book Mistress of Spices and a bunch of other really fantastic books about life in India or as Indian Americans in the US. (Don't see the movie Mistress of Spices first or you'll be really disappointed). They are really fascinating and she is a beautiful writer. Got them from the local library.

    Several years ago when I finished her first book, I emailed her agent to tell her how much I loved the book. And Chitra wrote me an email back! It was thrilling.


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