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The Song Reader    by Lisa Tucker order for
Song Reader
by Lisa Tucker
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2003 (2003)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Song Reader is narrated by Leeann, who was raised her lovely elder sister Mary Beth after their loser father's desertion and their mother's early death. Through Leeann's eyes, Mary Beth's song reading ability seems natural, as does her adoption of Tommy, an unwanted baby. Mary Beth has a unique talent to solve people's problems by analyzing the songs that they hum, and that have meaning to them. Leeann grows up happily helping her sister with her clients and with Tommy, but hankering for her lost father. Mary Beth worshipped their mother.

One of the people that Mary Beth helps is Ben, a brilliant student depressed by the death of his friend. They date and Leeann looks forward to a 'happily ever after' ending until suddenly it's all over. Life continues on until Mary Beth gets in over her head. She has given help to someone in desperate need, which backfires on the entire family, and the community turns against them. Responsibility falls squarely on Leeann's young shoulders. She meets her frail father again, finds a love of her own in very difficult circumstances, and is able to help her sister come to terms with her own past.

If you like novels with a strong psychological component then you'll enjoy The Song Reader. It shows us strong women coping with almost impossible circumstances, and deconstructs Mary Beth's unusual talent in a unique and intriguing denouement.

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