Book Review: Up From the Blue by: Susan Henderson


Harper Paperbacks

Publish Date:
September 21, 2010

From Publisher for Review

Trade Paperback

Order From: 
Amazon / Barnes & Noble

When Tillie Harris goes into labor with her first child, nothing is right. Her husband is away on business, the boxes in her new home aren't unpacked, and the telephone isn't even connected yet. Forced to reach out to her estranged father for help, Tillie must face the painful memories she's been running from since she was a little girl - the memories of her own mother and the year that changed everything.

Tillie's childhood home was a manic and messy world with her mother, Mara, at its center. Some days brought dancing, dress-up, and laughter, while others left Mother weeping, drained, and unable to get out of bed. When Tillie's father takes a top job at the Pentagon and forces the family to move, and as Mara's worsening depression can no longer be ignored, Tillie's life spirals out of control.

Arriving at her new home in Washington, D.C., Tillie discovers the unthinkable - her mother has vanished. As her father tries to impose a new, orderly pattern to family life - and refuses to discuss what has happened - Tillie's fertile imagination attempts to fill in the missing gaps by inventing elaborate narratives and questioning her father's culpability. But when the veil is lifted and the mystery revealed, Tillie discovers that the truth behind her mother's disappearance is far more complicated that she could have imagined. 

Review: The year Tillie was eight was the year everything changed. Her mom is getting worse, sleeping all day, crying all the time, and refusing to do anything to help herself or her family. Now they move across the country to Washington, DC for her Dad's new job and her mom disappears. Tillie's living in her own world now and doesn't know how to cope with her home life. Switching back from present day to her eighth year, a haunting picture is painted in words.

I did enjoy this emotional and gripping tale through a young girl's eyes of depression, heartache, and misunderstandings. It was heart-wrenching to read about Tillie's family and her view of them during all the chaos. I read this in one sitting and was left shaken by the end - definitely worth the read!


  1. The story is not shocking. I'd go as far as to rate it as quite clean. Swear words are contained within one chapter. The images conjured by the author are not necessarily disturbing. The identification with each character may push the reader a little off kilter. That's what makes the book so powerful.

  2. I'm not sure if I want to read the book but I love the freckles on the cover. So cute.


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