Waiting For Normal by Leslie Connor

Waiting for NormalMommers really messed things up for her and Addie when she didn’t come home for days and left Addie in charge of her baby sisters. They lost Dwight, Addie’s now ex-stepfather and their house in the process. Although Dwight and Mommers split up, Dwight makes every effort to stay in the picture for Addie’s sake and goes as far as giving Addie and her mother a family-owned airstream trailer. The trailer is situated under a bridge in Schenectady, New York. The living situation is less than perfect since they are moving to the “wrong side” of town which means Addie will have to change schools and move farther away from her grandfather, Dwight and her two half sisters. And the trailer is in a rundown area where their only neighbors are a gas station and a diner. Addie knows that Dwight can’t get custody of her like he did her sisters because he is not her biological father. And even though, Addie struggles with learning (she is dyslexic), missing her stepfather and sisters and her mother’s swinging moods, she decides to make a go of her new living situation.

Addie’s used to working extra hard, and she proves it by practicing her flute night and day and making Stage Orchestra at school even though her dyslexia makes it hard for her to read the music notes. She also befriends Soula and Elliott who run the convenient store near the trailer. On days that Mommers doesn’t feel like getting up, or nights when Mommers doesn’t come home, Addie often heads over to the gas station to spend time with them. But everything begins to unravel as the Addie’s first Stage Orchestra Concert approaches in December. Mommers begins disappearing on “business” for days at a time, leaving Addie home alone. Soula’s cancer worsens. And Dwight announces he’s found a new girlfriend and he’s moving with Addie’s sisters several hours away.

This is a really moving story with amazing characters. I really loved how Addie was portrayed as honest and eager and how that contrasted with her mother, who was suffering from some sort of mental illness that caused her mood swings and to neglect her daughter. Even though their relationship was strained, the author still conveyed a great deal of love between Addie and Mommers and it was easy to understand why Addie tried so desperately to make everything appear “normal”. A great read for anyone in grade 4 and up who enjoys realistic stories, sad stories or strong characters. This would be a strong choice for children who are living with parents who are dealing with some of the same issues as Mommers, however, the ending resolves so many of the issues so neatly, it is worth talking over why not all situations resolve themselves quite as completely as they do in this book.

Posted by: Kelly

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