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Secrets Of Worry Dolls by Amy Impellizzeri

Secrets Of Worry Dolls by Amy Impellizzeri – 312 pages

Book Blurb:

According to Mayan tradition, if you whisper your troubles to the Worry Dolls, they will do the worrying instead of you–therefore, it follows that Worry Dolls are the keepers of a great many secrets . . .
On the eve of the end of the world–according to the Mayan calendar–Mari Guarez Roselli’s secrets are being unraveled by her daughter, Lu.
Lu’s worry dolls are at-capacity as she tries to outrun the ghosts from her past–including loved ones stolen on 9/11–by traveling through her mother’s homeland of Guatemala, to discover the painful reasons behind her own dysfunctional childhood, and why she must trust in the magic of the legend.

My Review: 4 stars

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Secrets of Worry Dolls was a purchase I made on the title alone. I love the traditions surrounding worry dolls and I was curious to see how this would play out within the pages of the book. I once bought Worry Dolls for my kids on a vacation in Mexico and told them that instead of worrying about school, friend drama or tryouts, they should tell the dolls and it would help take their worry away. Who knows if it worked, but I liked the idea of it.

This book took me by surprise as it dealt with more than the average worries. The town of Belle Harbor (Rock Harbor in the book) suffered tremendous losses from 9/11 as a significant amount of firefighters reside there. They were then hit just two months later by an American Airlines plane crash that killed not just the passengers on board, but also five from this neighborhood with horrific damage and devastation throughout the town.

Impellizzeri takes on both of these sensitive scenarios with tenderness and honesty. Not only did she live in Belle Harbor in 2001, but her home, became the command center for the response teams, as replicated in the book. With her background, I get why she was able paint this story with such emotion. Survivor’s guilt, love and tension were all quite palpable.

Additionally, there is the beautiful story line of the mother and daughter trying to connect. Both damaged for different reasons, they each have a journey to take to let the past unravel itself so that it can make sense in the present. Told in two POVs of mother and daughter, one of them goes to Guatemala to learn the stories of the past, while the other recounts her story along with the Guatemalan civil war in her mind.

I very much look forward to see what this author has in store in the future. This is her second novel and she’s coming out with something new in late 2017.

Quotes I liked:

I felt grateful and relieved and hopeful and confused and sad. Which is kind of the story of my life.”

-“It’s not nature, it’s nurture. No one is born as they will be. It’s those first memories that shape you as you grow.”

-“I spend my time living. Not surviving. And I don’t help everyone. Just people who happen to need me at a time I can help them.”

-“We never really had a chance – my mother and I. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t hers either… Losing her isn’t the hard part. The hard part is knowing now why, and not being able to tell her I forgive her.”

-“The days are long but the years go fast.”

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