Songs Without Words
by: Ann Packer
Published by: Vintage Book
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Reviewed by Leslie Granier
Songs Without Words tells the story of Liz and Sarabeth who have been friends since they were children. Liz is now a housewife with two teenagers, while Sarabeth is unmarried and earns a living making unique lampshades. Liz has always been there for Sarabeth, especially after Sarabeth’s mother committed suicide when they were teenagers. After Lauren, Liz’s daughter, tries to kill herself, Liz looks to Sarabeth for support. When Sarabeth is unable to step up, Liz begins to realize how one-sided this friendship is, which causes a rift in their relationship.
This story explores the effects of depression on not only the affected individual, but also on those who love them. Lauren’s self-hatred and loneliness led her to try to take her life. The overwhelming guilt Liz felt for not recognizing Lauren’s feelings put a great strain on her marriage. Liz’s husband Brody was left feeling powerless and instead of trying to bring about change, and he ended up trying to hide from what happened by avoiding the topic as much as possible. It also causes difficulties with traditions, especially around the holidays. Families are often unsure if they should continue to do things as they have always done or if they should try to keep the affected one out of the spotlight.
The author adeptly demonstrates how Sarabeth’s growth stopped after her mother’s death by having her character closely mirror the life of the teenaged Lauren. Each character is obsessed with a guy and feels inadequate because the male does not feel the same way toward them. Also, both of them are dependent on Liz because neither of them is able to take care of herself. A third similarity is the negative self-image each has that prevents them from living life to its fullest.
Songs Without Words will touch the heart of everyone who reads it. The author vividly portrays the thoughts and feelings of the characters. This story provides hope for those who currently face difficult situations by demonstrating that with time and support from loved ones, things can always get better.
Armchair Interviews says: Powerful story of human depression and its affects.
Author’s Web site: http://www.AnnPacker.com
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