Skip to main content

Review: The Fist Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

"I killed a little boy today." reads the first sentence of Nancy Tucker's women's fiction The First Day of Spring, and thus unfolds the story of a girl who can't cope with a life where she is uncared for, unfed physically and mentally, and who battles an undeveloped brain that has yet to understand that dead means dead.

Chillingly unaffected by her killing crime, she hungers to live a child's life where parents adore you, sing songs to you, and provide sustenance. 

She's enough self aware to understands what she has done must be kept secret, taunts others with her insider knowledge, knows which adults don't like her, and lingers on the outskirts of life, hanging on to her best friend Linda who is probably the only person who likes her.

How she's caught is revealed near the end of the novel, but before that is understood, the reader learns she is sentenced to a home for criminal youth, which she eventually loathes leaving – it has electricity, regular meals, adults involved in her life, even though, she must admit, they are paid to do so.

Out on her own, an unplanned pregnancy and subsequent birth of her daughter deepens her death grip on fear: someone could take the life of her child as easily as she took the life of someone else's, which presents the question: should a child killer raise a child?

Haunting in its simplicity, Tucker tugs you along through the life of Chrissie the child, who becomes Julia the adult, a woman who fears happiness – she's undeserving of it, who regiments her child's life by the tick of the clock, and constructs a fence around her own heart to protect her from experiencing too much joy as a parent.

Written in the first person, you're advised to watch the chapter headings to understand who is speaking.

The last chapter comes from the daughter's point of view, a child both aware yet steeped in innocence, a child who loves her mum, just because she's her mum.

Although the act is inexcusable, the pain of this murderer is palpable throughout the novel.

Her gradual awareness of the finality of death, the effect of facing who she is, her struggle to keep her child, despite that, culminates in a poignant moment that is tissue box worthy.

And yet she's a child killer.

Category: Women's Fiction | Crime Mysteries
Source: Library.  


Popular posts from this blog

How I got here and why it matters by Carol Doane

When I learned to write complete sentences I had one goal, to write a book. Somewhere in the youthful march through grade school, in some secret place long forgotten, is the book I started. I was seven-years old. I wrote prose, neatly in pencil, on blue lined notebook paper and added tiny illustrations at the top of my chapters. I drew my brother's birthday, bunny cake that celebrated his arrival at the terrible twos with frosting smeared onto his nose by my mother before she took his picture — with a film camera. I wrote about my uncle's visit from the distant country of Texas. I wrote about the way the world hurt and how small I felt. As I raced through school and ploughed down the writing path, I wrote stories and essays that high school teachers returned, scratched with red grammar corrections and tantalizing notes, such as, "This would make a good book." When I graduated college, my reward was to take a break, stop writing, and read what I wanted to

Review: Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng

“Everything here reminds her of what Lydia could have been.”   Lydia, a high school student has died and her mother drifts into her room to experience the smells and sensations of the girl who used to inhabit the space. Across town, Lydia’s father has dropped into another woman’s bed and sleeps tranquilly. Nothing in life has happened as it should. Love gets lost in withheld touches and unspoken thoughts. Parents’ expectations are driven into successive generations and serve as baggage rather than inspiration. Words hurt: “ this,”  referring to Lydia’s parent’s marriage, “isn’t right.” Words are avoided: mixed, interracial, mismatched. Words that could reassure lay stagnant and not vocalized. Words are smithed to cope: “disappeared, fell in the lake, drowned.” The family’s search to understand the daughter who died, their search for a killer to pin their grief on, the destruction of trust, and the slow melting away of relationships show a family on the brink. The sprint to finish this

Review: Bride of the Sea by Eman Quotah

“And the word  divorce  is whispering in his ear, a secret no when else knows.” Muneer, a 23-year-old journalism student from Saudi Arabia attending university in the United States, is considering divorcing his 19-year-old wife, also from Saudi Arabia, who is pregnant and about to give birth. He has this thought when she is shoveling snow without a jacket, scarf, or gloves. She seems to like the cold. Before the baby is born, she strips down to her underwear and walks into a lake in winter. Is this a suicide attempt? It’s hard to grasp that concept –a young woman so unhappy she walks into a lake pregnant, a couple who doesn’t share, has no team goal, with divorce thoughts shortly before their child is born. The couple divorces. The wife, Saeedah, or Sadie as she is later known, flees with their daughter and spends the next seventeen years hiding from Muneer, his family, and her family. How is this life of hiding, that Sadie has taken her daughter Hannah on, different from a culture th