Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Comfort

Comfort

Spring 2009 Fiction
Ages: 11 - 14 yrs.
Author: Joyce Moyer Hostetter
ISBN: 978-1-59078-606-2
Hardcover Price: $17.95
Review:
The Precursor to Comfort -- Joyce Moyer Hostetter’s novel Blue – was a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor award winner in 2006. Set in a 1940s small Southern town, Blue introduced young Ann Fay Honeycutt and her family. The plot revolved around Ann Fay’s father who’d been called to war, and a polio outbreak back home.

Comfortpicks up where Blue left off. Ann Fay’s father has returned, but he’s not the same. Ann Fay, too, is home from a long hospital stay, where she was being treated for polio.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition, these life changes of father and daughter, and Hostetter employs it well. Terrible things happened in the war that Ann Fay’s father won’t talk about, and a terrible thing has happened to Ann Fay. Both must reintegrate into lives that by and large haven’t changed.

The charm of the 1940s small southern town is rendered nicely through Ann Fay’s folksy narration and no-nonsense observations. It’s a world where neighbors take care of each other and at least the way Hostetter depicts it, do so with gentle empathy.

The themes are big ones -- war, domestic violence, illness -- but Hostetter manages them deftly. While the war is portrayed through the mood and behavior of Ann Fay’s father and its effect on those around him, polio is tackled head-on. It’s a fine historical account of a disease not familiar to today’s young readers. The language and tone of Comfort give it a quick pace and Hostetter nicely balances the weighty subject material with the simple theme of compassion.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.


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