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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: The Girl with the Haunting Smile by Richard Louden



Greg Harris lives in Scotland and has lived a miserable and isolated existence because he is different and his teachers and parents think he’s just and odd ball who is a troublemaker.  But as various ticks develop, readers soon learn that he had no control of his acting out. As his mom, who has some odd idiosyncrasies herself, tries to find a medical cure, he is eventually diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome.

The one solace in Greg’s lonely existence is the friendship he has developed through correspondence with 10-year-old Ellen Fromm after falling in love with  her picture and getting her address from his grandfather. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. Though he has never met her or spoken to her, they strike up a pen pal relationship. Eventually correspondence stops, and he loses touch with her but has built such a fantasy about his love for her that he can think of nothing else but finding her and declaring his love for her.

This is a coming of age story that will tenderize your heart toward children who are different and bullied because of it. Louden has created a sympathetic character in Greg but also one, whose very syndrome (especially the obsessive compulsive part) can truly grate on your nerves. It’s and up and down roller coaster ride as we are Greg’s emotional captives. I won’t spoil the ending.

This one gets four out of five stars. There is language and some sexually suggestive scenes.

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