“Stars in the Grass” by Ann Marie Stewart explores family relationships after a tragic loss. Nine-year-old Abby McAndrews lived an idyllic life with her pastor father, stay-at-home mother and two brothers, one older and one younger. On a family vacation, her world suddenly comes to a screeching halt when her dad and younger brother are struck by a car. While her father survives, her little brother dies and along with him, the perfect family she always thought she had. With her dad questioning his faith, her older brother acting out in dangerous ways and her mother struggling in her own way, everyone seems to forget about Abby.
Abby tells her story quite poetically. From her point of view, her family is falling apart, and nothing seems to help. She is struggling with not only the loss of her brother but her other family members as well. In the only way a child can, Abby fights to keep her family together.
Stewart’s story is inspiring in many ways, but it is also a very depressing read. I praise her for keeping it emotionally accurate. Some authors tend to downplay the emotions hoping that readers will keep reading. Stewart, on the other hand, lets all the emotions out and allows readers to see inside the grieving family–that everything isn’t okay, but they are dealing with it as most real, not fictional, people do.
Although at times I found it difficult to read and wanted to just quit, I am surprisingly pleased that I kept on reading. It wasn’t the book I thought it would be, but it was real as fiction can be real. Stewart makes us realize that our relationships, just as life, are fragile. We must treasure our loved ones while they are here and hold onto them in our losses. We find our strength when we come together not when we pull away.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing, Inc. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”