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    Just Claire

    Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams is a story about family, friendship, mental illness and its effect on a family. The Monteiro family have temporarily moved for a much-needed job opportunity and their mother is about to give birth. The labor is hard and ends with an emergency trip to the hospital. Claire, the oldest daughter, is left to care for her siblings, not knowing when or if her mother and the baby will return. When they do come home, Claire can tell something is not right. What is wrong with Mama? This story has a nice flow with believable characters. Themes of love, strength of family, friendship, and community bonds are woven throughout the book. I look forward to reading more work from by this author. I received a copy of the book from the author and The Book Club Network, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.
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    Heartbreaking yet heartwarming coming-of-age story

    Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams is a wonderful coming-of-age story set a remote village in Northern California in 1960. Claire is a young teen who misses her home and her Nana, having recently moved from Oregon for her father's job. She just wants to have a 'normal' life making new friends and going to school but with the traumatic home birth of her third brother and her mother's subsequent hospitalization, her life is a disaster. Does her father even get how hard it is to care for her four younger siblings? Why can't he just stop calling her "Claire Bear"? Can she get the Lavender girls to accept her friend, Belinda, too? When will Mama be back to normal? There's just too much stress for one thirteen-year-old girl. The author has written a heart-wrenching story of a family in crisis mode and a young girl having to shoulder a mother's responsibilities. As things unfold and the truth is known, there are people who come alongside and help. This is a story of community, of friends, of faith and of family. The characters are great. Lolly, the three-year-old, is adorable. Belinda, Claire's friend, just tells it like it is; "some people are like shallow puddles and... you and me? We ain't that sort." Liam and Grayson, the two brothers are so typical of young boys, always into things and fussing about life in general. The author tells a poignant story, giving what would seem to be the right flavor of the time period and setting, as she brings to the written pages, the unfortunate heartbreaking repercussions that postpartum blues and depression can have on family life. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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