Based on the shocking Beslan school siege in 2004, this is a brave and necessary story about grief, resilience, and finding your voice in the aftermath of tragedy.
On Nika's first day of school, a terrorist attack alters the lives of everyone in their town as they all deal with the aftermath of the death of so many loved ones. Nika is one of those who is taken hostage, then among the missing when the hostage situation is resolved, and then lost forever as the family identifies and claims her remains. MOTHER TONGUE chronicles Darya's attempts to deal with her loss, understand the way others manage theirs, and find a new life for herself absent her little sister.
MOTHER TONGUE is devastating to read, and Julie Mayhew's relates the stories of people who are broken in so many different ways. Her writing is beautiful, but spare, and much of the beauty is in her economy of words. I loved Darya's character, and I marveled at how well Mayhew brought her to life despite the book's brevity. MOTHER TONGUE is a coming-of-age book, but it's also one that covers grief, family relationships, dating relationships, and so much more.
I had to take frequent small breaks while I was reading MOTHER TONGUE. There's so much pain in the book that it was hard for me to absorb it all at once. That said, I was always anxious to get started on it again because I was so invested in the characters and their stories.
MOTHER TONGUE is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it. My thanks to LibraryThing and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.
Terrific main character