Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Inside Out Girl - Tish Cohen

Inside Out Girl was just released last month by Harper Collins Canada and is on my 'You've got to read this one!' list.

Rachel is a single mother of two who obsesses over accident reports, parenting tips and ensuring her children are safe.It is out of character for her to pull over and help a man and his daughter change their flat tire. Len is the widowed father of Olivia. Surprising herself further, Rachel agrees to a date with Len. As they continue to date, Rachel's children are horrified to find out that Len's daughter Olivia is the ' Inside Out Girl" who attends their school. Olivia has non verbal learning disorder. Although very bright, she is unable to process facial and voice cues, resulting in socially inappropriate behaviour and anxiety. She often chooses to wear her clothes inside out, thus the name. She is extremely well informed about rats, frequently quoting rat facts in times of stress.

As she falls in love with Len, Rachel is forced to face some issues from her own past. Her children are also going through difficulties that she is unaware of. Could this relationship really work?

Cohen's writing is so real. I found myself furious at the bullying of Olivia, nodding in sympathy with Rachel's angst and applauding the parenting of Len.

Cohen has done a remarkable job with all the characters - they truly come to life - especially Olivia, who will make you laugh, make you cry and cheer for the little girl who can teach us all a thing or two - and not just about rats.

This would be a great read for a book club.

Tish Cohen is also one of the founding members of the grog I've mentioned before - The Debutante Ball. She also writes her own blog. I'm off to find a copy of Town House - Cohen's first novel for adults, which has been optioned for a movie.

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