Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

I wasn’t ‘wowed’ or moved to tears while reading Fixing Delilah, but it was a decent read that emphasized the importance of family and forgiveness. After the death of Delilah’s grandmother, the main character, her mother and her aunt set out for Vermont to try and piece back together what is left of their broken family. Delilah has very few memories of her summers spent in Vermont with her grandparents, for all the joy she experienced with them growing up is overshadowed by the memory of her grandfather’s funeral and the fight that kept her family apart for the last eight years. The mystery of this tale surrounds the source of the family feud, the truth about Delilah’s father, and the mysterious death of the aunt she never knew. Amidst all this drama and despair there is a light romance between Delilah and her childhood best friend Patrick, but their relationship isn’t the focus of this novel so much as it is an attempt by the author to lighten the mood from time to time.

I felt the pacing in this book could have been a little better considering that not much happens in the first half of the novel. Like Delilah, I became frustrated every time she approached her mother or her aunt demanding answers, only to be brushed off or ignored. Perhaps the mother’s constant evasion of her daughter’s obvious need to know more about her family was a way to keep the readers in suspense until the big reveal, but honestly every time Delilah’s mother would dodge a question or avoid the issue, it made me feel like the story was going in circles, doomed to never deviate from its set course. The romance between Delilah and Patrick in comparison seemed rushed. Given that the two spent eight years apart it didn’t take long for them to take their friendship to the next level.

The parts I found the most interesting were when Delilah is desperately trying to make sense of memories of her grandmother that would come to her suddenly and unexpectedly when she would pick up an old jewelry box or glance into a room. I also enjoyed the scenes where Delilah learned about the aunt she always longed to meet from the pages of the diary she left behind. Learning what her aunt’s life was like before she died and how much she meant to those who loved her were probably the most heartbreaking and touching scenes in this book. I have to admit that there were also moments between Delilah and Patrick that twisted my heart just a bit, but I would have preferred that their relationship developed gradually instead of the instant connection that occurred. 

Rating: 3/5 Stars


  1. Really great honest review. I've read some absolutely raving reviews of this book but yours seemed really well balanced.

  2. I really liked Twenty Boy Summer so judging from your review, I don't think Fixing Delilah is up to par with it. It still sounds like a book I'd like to read in the future though so I'll probably borrow it from the library. Great review however!

  3. I can definitely see how Delilah getting ignored every time she asked a question would be frustrating, especially if we're subjected to that same scenario again and again. Thanks for such an honest review!

  4. This sounds like an interesting book with a family theme - there's not a lot of those in YA. Too bad the pacing didn't quite keep up.

  5. I love your honest take on this one, Laura! I love TBS by this author, so I've been excited to read this one. I'll definitely keep your reservations in mind though :)