The First Day of Books– The Partridge: ONE FOR THE MURPHYS

When I read ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin 2012), I laughed and cried, cried and laughed.  I should mention that I’m not really a crier.  When a writer can create a character that is equal parts sorrow and humor bound tightly as one– as Hunt does with Carley– it’s time to sit up and pay attention.  Somehow, through the keen eyes of our young narrator, we’re about to learn some penetrating truths.

OnefortheMurphys_low-ResONE FOR THE MURPHYS is a story about everyday heroes– adult heroes and kid heroes.  Carley is a 12-year-old girl forced into foster care when her mother is beaten to the point of hospitalization by a sleazy boyfriend.  The appalling scene is relived in Carley’s mind only in small bursts.  Hunt strikes a carefully balanced tone in its depiction, keeping it appropriate for the target audience.  While Carley struggles with deep issues of self-worth, she uses pride and humor as her coat of armor.  She’s not letting anybody in.

Enter the Murphys, a fully functional family with happy parents and kids.  Through the patience and unconditional love shown to her by Mrs. Murphy, Carley slowly comes to believe she may be worthy of such attention. In short, Carley learns to love the Murphys as she learns to love herself.  Every person matters.

THE MURPHYS is my partridge because so many people I have known use humor as their defense against painful circumstances– though perhaps less dramatic ones than Carley’s. Growing into the ability to be vulnerable, to trust, and to believe in one’s self, makes for a powerful, universal story, one Hunt masters with the perfect blend of heartache and Irish winks.  Though kids who’ve seen some misfortune like Carley’s may find particular solace in her story, this book is equally  appropriate for any child ready to see a world bigger than her own.

I can’t wait for more work by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynda Mullaly Hunt
    Dec 17, 2012 @ 02:57:06

    Such a lovely review, Cameron. Thanks so, so much. Honored to be the Partridge. Need to get myself a multi-colored school bus now. 🙂

    Reply

    • Cameron Kelly Rosenblum
      Dec 17, 2012 @ 06:38:34

      Hahaha! Lynda, I do need to see you at the helm of the multi-colored bus. Why is it sooooo easy to picture?
      Your book is a true work of art and I mean every word I say about it. You are a master of character depiction.

      Reply

  2. Lynda Mullaly Hunt
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 23:57:31

    Geez–pretty easy for me to imagine myself at the helm of the bus. Is this bad? 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words–again. xo

    Reply

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