Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Love me Tender

Love me Tender

Audrey Couloumbis
For ages 12 and up
Random House , 2008   ISBN: 978-0375838392

Elvira does not have an ordinary family, and of late family ties have started to fray around the edges somewhat. It all begins when Elivra's mother announces that she is pregnant for the third time. This unexpected news does not delight the family. Elvira is gloomy because she foresees that she will be babysitting the new baby all the time. Kerrie is not happy because she will no longer be the baby in the family, and Mel's husband, Daddy, is upset because a new baby will disrupt his plans to make a comeback as an Elvis impersonator.

After Elvira's father storms off to participate in an Elvis contest in Las Vegas, Mel sinks into a state of gloom that infuriates Elvira. Then Mel gets a phone call from her sister Clare and in moments, she packs up her daughters and begins the long drive to Memphis where her mother and sister live.

Elvira has never met her maternal relatives and her "new" grandmother is not exactly the warm and cuddly Grandma that Elvira hoped for. Instead, she is a stubborn lady who refuses to acknowledge that she needs help, and she certainly will never admit that she made a mistake when she treated Mel badly years ago.

While Elvira and Kerrie worry about their father, Mel fights with her sister and her mother about things that happened years ago. What a family reunion this is turning out to be.

In this bitter sweet novel, readers get to meet a colorful collection of characters who are alternately funny, delightfully human, and thoroughly dysfunctional. Though they struggle with events that took place long ago, Elvira's female relatives still love one another, and in time they find a way to set their hurt aside so that they can find a place where they can get along – sort of.

In this moving and highly entertaining book Audrey Couloumbis, combines humor, pathos, and pain to give her readers a literary experience that is unique.