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By: Jeffery Blount
From the Author:
As Hating Heidi Foster begins, Mae McBride stands by on a riverbed watching as her mother offers up the ashes of her father to the river's fast moving current. She thinks of the great loss in her life and the cause of that loss. She thinks of Heidi Foster, her best friend since second grade.
Heidi Foster is home alone listening to music through her ear buds when fire sneaks into her bedroom and she has nowhere to run but her closet. There she waits for the painful end she knows is about to happen, but she is saved by Eddie, the father of her best friend. Heidi makes it out of the burning house, but Eddie does not. When Mae finds out, she blames Heidi for not being smart enough to get out of the house. She blames her father for putting Heidi ahead of her. She blames her friends for taking Heidi’s side. She begins to unravel amid that blame and her uncontrollable and atypical anger.
At the same time Heidi is beset by guilt, falls into depression and stops eating properly. She is wasting away physically and emotionally while waiting for Mae to let her back into the friendship that she misses so dearly.
Mae, consumed by her hatred of Heidi, the confusion regarding her father’s motives, the perceived desertion of her friends and her mother’s grief, loses more and more of herself.
What could possibly bring these two teenagers back to each other? A miracle?
Hating Heidi Foster is a very endearing and heart wrenching story filled with pain, anger, and the miracle of forgiveness. The story is centered around fourteen year old Mae, who is struggling to come to terms with the events that led to her father's death. Afterall, how do you forgive your father for dying while saving your best friend? And how could you possibly forgive that best friend for being the reason your father is gone?
The author does a great job of showing Mae's anger and resentment toward both her father and Heidi. She constantly struggles with how to handle herself and her feelings. She pulls away from her friends and blames everyone for taking Heidi's side. While Mae's anger festers, Heidi's despair grows. I really wish the book had shown more of Heidi's suffering instead of simply hearing about it from other characters. I think that would have been more powerful, but also, the "hearing" all Mae gets and is a huge part of the way she reacts. She's so blinded by hate, that she can't see what's really happening to her best friend or the true importance of her father's decision.
When Mae finally finds the answer to why her father did what he did, she begins to find her own answers amid the various stories of those who witnessed his heroic actions. And ultimately, she has to decide... if she has to live without her father, can she afford to live without her best friend?
This is a great book for young girls and their friends to read together. It focuses on the value of friendship, and how healing is not an individual action but is best learned with those we love most. If you are looking for the perfect gift for your daughter or grandaughter this Christmas, consider Hating Heidie Foster. It will bring a smile to her face, and love to her heart.
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