One thought on “Keeper Of The Night

  1. Marie LeJeune says:

    From its hauntingly beautiful first line, “My mother died praying on her knees”, Kimberly Willis Holt’s Keeper of the Night draws the reader into a tale of loss, pain, resilience, and recovery.

    Set on the island of Guam and steeped with the geographic and cultural richness of the island and the Chamorro people, this is the tale of 13-year-old Isabel’s struggle to cope with the suicide of her mother and its haunting effects on the entire family. Isabel becomes a pseudo-mother to her siblings in the months following her mother’s death and struggles with both the weight of the responsibility she feels to replace her mother and her own desires to become someone other than her mother. She chafes under her Aunties’ pressures to learn to cook like her mother, participate in the local pageant queen competition like her mother, while desperately seeking to find her own way as her own person, all while behaving very much as a “mother” to her family.

    This book is told in short, intense vignettes–some are only a few lines, a list, a paragraph, or at most a few pages each. This interesting, multi-genre format makes for a captivating, quick read and also helps the reader him/herself cope with the intensity of the emotions and themes revealed throughout the story.

    Holt’s novel equally balances and develops rich setting, compelling plot lines and honest characterization to create a story that allows the reader to not only grieve deeply with Isabel and her family but also identify with Isabel’s struggles to stake out her own identity and her own method for coping with and recovering from the loss of her mother.

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