This is not a perfect book, but neither are the world-renowned ones that I love best. Like those beloved classics that I've loved most of my life, this is a book about what's important in life - those you love most and belong to in the ordinary, everyday manner of living. It's about heart and family and carrying on no matter what. It's a wonderful story, but it's not fiction. It's a memoir about a family, and it took decades to be written because it's mostly about the death of one of the author's six children at the tender, promising age of fifteen. Micki Peluso has been writing about other things as well for a long time, but this book needed to take it's
time to be told as Ms. Peluso takes us on her life's journey in 1959, running away to get married; living with in-laws and with her own ditsy, unstable mother and bigamous stepfather; setting up home; having her first baby; more babies and assorted animals arrive; taking in her younger brother when life with their mother cuts up rough; uprooting the whole family to live in Las Vegas after an hilariously muddled road trip from the East Coast to the western desert to scout out the good life; then back again within the year, almost broke and starting over in a haunted house. But the story begins much later, in 1981, when young Noelle is mortally injured by a drunken hit and run driver, and the family are given the worst news at the hospital, with Micki's husband, Butch, five hours away, desparately driving back to them. In the opening chapter the pain of this tragedy is red raw and palpable with the words falling hard like tears. And so the family tale unfolds in flashbacks that are snapshots of a large and happy family who love, laugh, cry, fight, and tumble along life's road, interspersed with the harrowing sce
nes at the hospital as the extent of Noelle's injuries are laid bare and Micki and Butch struggle to keep hope alive when the doctors say there is none, through to their final letting go as they realise their daughter cannot stay with them any longer. Small doses of horrified sorrow and pain between the glimpses of extraordinary love and easy comfort of a 'normal' hectic, frustrating and funny family life. No wonder it took took decades to write and why Butch wouldn't read it before it was completed. The heart is written in there always and that's why this gets 5 stars and is recommended without hesitation for anyone who's had a family they love.