ComfortComfort by Joyce M. Hostetter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ann Fay is anything but a typical 14 year-old girl. Instead of hanging out with her best friend Peggy Sue at the movies, or playing at recess like the regular kids, Ann Fay—stricken with Polio the year before—works a Saturday job to help support her family, spends recess alone with her clickity leg brace, and worries incessantly about why Daddy is a whole different man since returning from the war. Longing to feel normal, a sparkle shines bright in her eyes when she’s offered the opportunity to live at Warm Springs—a place in Georgia for Polios to receive rehabilitation treatments. But she also thinks her family will crumple without her. With her parents’ blessing, she finally agrees to attend Warm Springs and for the first time feels she’s in a place where everyone’s just like her. There’s real comfort in that.

Ann Fay progresses quickly and is soon walking with a cane and making friends. Life is perfect, until Junior Bledsoe from back home shows up at Warm Springs with bad news from back home, forcing Ann Fay to leave the one place she feels her best in. But family comes first, and it’s time to step out of her comfort zone and face her daddy and his war neurosis (PTSD).

This story is exquisitely told, with both beautiful language and heartfelt revelations, “I learned quick enough that when someone drops a bomb in one small place on this planet, it shatters the whole universe. And not just for a little while either. The breaking goes on forever…”

Readers will love Ann Fay and enjoy her journey as she realizes that, “Something that hurts can make us stronger. You just have to face it, and after a while it starts to get better.” Yes, Ann Fay, it really does.

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