Kelli Hansen grew up in a cold and unloving environment. As soon as she was able to escape her childhood home, she did, reinventing herself into the perky cheerleader type that she thought people wanted to see. But she's been slowly falling apart for years and her ex-husband announcing his new engagement is just a little more than she can handle.
Ava Hansen knows that something is wrong with her mother. She can't put her finger on what it is, but she knows that she doesn't eat like she's supposed to and she seems really frail. At 13, she shouldn't be playing parent to her own mother, but she is. Kelli leans on her like a constant crutch and, though she's not a fan of her dad's girlfriend, Grace, Ava wishes Kelli could be strong like her.
Told from the points of view of Grace, Kelli and Ava, Heart Like Mine is the story of what happens when motherhood is forced upon you (for both Grace and Kelli) and a mother is forced on you (for both Kelli and Ava). Kelli is overwhelmed by motherhood at such a young age, and Grace is overwhelmed by sudden motherhood. The lack of motherly love leads Kelli to make poor decisions as a teen and adult, and some of those decisions lead to Grace, who never wanted kids, becoming a mother.
While I love Hatvany's style, in that she tells stories through the eyes of different characters, I was somewhat disappointed that she didn't tell the story from Victor's point of view. As Grace's fiance', Ava's father and Kelli's ex-husband, he was the thread that tied all of the women together, yet he's only voiced in third person. I wasn't frustrated on Ava or Kelli's behalf, but I wish we could have heard from him only because he put Grace in awkward positions so many times and it would have been helpful to know what he was thinking or his logic behind things he did or said. Instead, he just came off as a self-centered man and I don't think that was the intention of the character or how Hatvany meant to portray him.
Published: March 2013
Disclosure: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.
Theme: Family from the Dreamgirls soundtrack