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Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite
Ellie is a 40-year-old school cafeteria worker who believes she will never live the life she wants. She’ll always be plain and she’ll never be as great as her wonderfully beautiful and perfect sister, Carrie, no matter what she does. At least that’s what her overbearing harpy of a mother relishes telling her, despite the fact that it is Ellie who lives at home and takes care of her.
Halifax truly begins when a gunman opens fire at a park, taking aim at young kids. Ellie summons strength and courage even she didn't know she possessed and strikes the man down with his own gun. She is a hero and enjoys the spotlight, but still has trouble getting over witnessing one of young boys, Sammy, being gunned down. Joan Mauch does a splendid job of painting the picture of Ellie’s life and just how disconnected she feels towards her mother and sister.
The way Joan Mauch illustrates the progression of Ellie’s anger in the aftermath of the shooting is brilliant. She highlights the changes to come within Ellie as she imagines herself performing brutal acts of violence on her mother, her sister, and her “ill-behaved brats” and even a general killing spree. Her thoughts darken the more she allows herself to put up with the abuse from those around her. She realizes the only way to avoid succumbing to these dark thoughts is to flee her hometown of Hummerly. After trotting around for a few days, Ellie makes her way to Halifax. In Halifax, Ellie comes to life which includes a healthy dose of friendship, love, a lost virginity, and even the sting of betrayal.
Halifax is a well-written novel that proves it’s never too late to start living your life and becoming the person you want to be…just ask Ellie!