Friday, October 21, 2016

Harmony; Carolyn Parkhurst


Harmony; Carolyn Parkhurst
Pamela Dorman Books - 2016

Harmony is a story of marriage, parenting and the guilt felt when things don't turn out as planned.

The story begins with the Hammond family: Alexandra (mom), Josh (dad) and daughters Iris, age 11, and Tilly, age 13.  The family leaves their home in Washington, DC behind to live in an off the grid community called, Camp Harmony in New Hampshire.  The camp's leader, Scott Bean, is a self-proclaimed, cultish parenting expert who professes to help families who are struggling.

Tilly Hammond falls somewhere within the autism spectrum with no specific diagnosis.  She has been expelled from several schools for inappropriate behavior. She's prone to meltdowns, licks floors and has frequent vulgar and violent outbursts.  For the Hammonds, Camp Harmony seems to be their last result for keeping their family together.  But just who is Scott Bean and to what lengths will he go to change the behaviors of Tilly and other challenging children who have come to the camp?

The story told from the POV's of Iris and Alexandra where we learn about family life before Camp Harmony and life at Camp Harmony.  Peppered throughout are excepts to show how Tilly reacts to various situations.  Younger sister Iris is a wonderful narrator and Alexandra truly believes that Scott Bean may just be their last chance as others have suggested institutionalizing Tilly.

The author does a great job capturing the desperation of the parents. I did read that the author has an autistic son and her knowledge of the challenges shows.  There is a sense on tension throughout, especially when Scott Bean becomes a bit unpredictable.  The novel wasn't perfect and the epilogue seemed unrealistic and at times forced but, it was still an enjoyable read overall.

4/5
(library)



14 comments:

  1. I listened to this and liked it a lot. I thought Tilly was very well done and the author did a good job of showing the joys and challenges of parenting a child like her.

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  2. May give one a different perspective on parenting.

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  3. Diane, this book is new to me. Thanks for your honest review.

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  4. This sounds like an interesting story!

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  5. I really liked this book, but thought the ending was a bit abrupt, and strange.

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  6. Sound good. Sometimes endings are a bit strange in real life too!

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  7. As a parent, this sounds super scary. Like the way you photographed the book cover.

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  8. I haven't read my review copy yet because I was afraid it would be too sad, struggling families are so real and prevalent, but I am encouraged at your review and rating of four out of five stars. Surely the author must be writing from a struggling parent's perspective to make it so poignant.

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  9. This sounds interesting. I've always liked family stories about alternative life styles. thanks for the review - I'm looking this one up.

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  10. I've heard of this and considered it, but wasn't sure. I like that you mention that the author has a child on the autistic spectrum so she knows how to write this respectfully. I have a grown child on the spectrum and hesitate to read fiction with similar folks represented, but this one sounds interesting, so thanks!

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  11. I have really enjoyed Carolyn Parkhurst in the past and have been very curious about this one!

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  12. I tend to avoid autism books but this one looks interesting. I'm curious about the not being diagnosed but ready to be institutionalized aspect. As a mom wouldn't you get a proper diagnosis? See the books about the spectrum touch a nerve with me. I am curious enough to add it to my reading list!

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  13. I plan to listen to this on audio. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

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  14. I've only read one of Parkhurst's books and didn't much enjoy it so I've been hesitant about this one but it does sound like it's work reading.

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