After re-reading Broken Soup to see if it would meet our Mock Printz guidelines (it does it does!) I wanted to revisit my comments on the book.
Everything in my first review holds. This is an exceptionally beautiful written, emotionally charged book about the families we’re born into and the families we create. It is about how a family can be devastated by grief and disintegrate into something that barely resembles its former self. And, perhaps more importantly, it is about how you can pick up the fragmented pieces and recover.
The relationship between 15 year old Rowan who is essentially raising her 6 year old sister Stroma is something to marvel at. The way in which Ms. Valentine writes their love, exasperation, and their need for each and how she does in interjecting humor blew me away even on the second read.
“She asked me to draw a unicorn, and even though it looked more like a rhinoceros and should have gone in the garbage, she colored it pink out of loyalty and called it Sparkle”
Harper, Rowan’s sort of boyfriend, is also drool worthy. The way in which he approaches life, his budding relationship with Rowan, and his need to not settle for what is easy made him one of my favorite characters.
It was also the sign of good writing that Valentine was able to interject Bee into the story with her unmentioned truths and her semi-prodding questions and show the genuine desire to become part of someone’s life without it being at all creepy (and boy could it have been creepy). Certainly Bee handles things in a very immature and slightly cruel manner – developing that negative in front of Rowan was certainly cruel – but it was so obviously done without cruel intentions. It was believable to me that she had been through quite a bit and truly did not know how to approach the subject.
I still have some issues with Sonny not calling Bee mom, although upon my re-read I realized that this story must have taken place within a month, two at the longest. Perhaps Rowan didn’t spend as much time in both their presence as I originally thought. It wasn’t so obvious to me that Bee was actually raising Sonny as her son. Something I hope other readers will discuss in their writing about the book.