The vivid descriptions and the partial understanding of an innocent child depict a scene that is genuinely upsetting to the reader, as the innate optimism of a five year old girl is pitted against the seemingly dark forces of adult grief. And yet, despite the uncomfortable theme of neglect, this emotional and beautifully written novel will keep you on tenterhooks throughout and you will emerge with feelings of renewal and hope.
What was best was that Maman was my best friend. Maman used to like it that way. She always held my hand, unless my hands were busy mixing up cakes or planting flowers. She used to call me Sweet Pea, which is a flower not a vegetable. Every night she would do my shower for me, soaping my back and washing my hair. Then she would read me a storybook and tuck me in with kisses. Later she always came back to tuck me in again. She would tiptoe over to my bed and kiss me on the head and call me beautiful. As she went she’d whisper, I love you. Every night, even if I was awake I used to pretend to be asleep. Now I wish that I had kissed her back and said, I love you too. I don’t even remember the last time she kissed me, because I never knew I had to.