The Hammonds’ (Alexandra and Josh) older daughter, Tilly, is extremely intelligent but also impulsive and violent. She’s diagnosed with a form of autism but even those trained to work with children like her struggle to help her so Tilly is kicked out of school after school. At her wit’s end, Alexandra turns to the teachings of Scott Bean and begins emailing him. When he starts Camp Harmony – a new community away from the modern world where families can learn to cope with special needs children – the Hammonds decide to sell everything and join Bean in this new, idealistic world. Things don’t go exactly as they planned, though.
I read HARMONY by Carolyn Parkhurst several months ago and recently realized I never wrote anything about it. If it had been another book, I might have just skipped it but I really enjoyed this one. There’s just enough tension to propel the story along and I was completely engaged from beginning to end.
The Hammonds know Tilly is a remarkable child with a lot to offer and are frustrated that the world only sees her for her special needs. Like everyone else, they struggle with what to do during her difficult moments and want to learn how to cope. I think many families will relate to their struggles and also think others will get a better idea of the challenges families like theirs go through day in and day out.
The story is told from three different points of view – Iris, the Hammonds’ younger daughter carries the bulk of the load and Alexandra and Tilly chime in from time to time. It was the perfect way to tell the story because readers are able to see how Tilly’s needs affect the whole family.
I listened to the audio version of HARMONY which is narrated by Abigail Revasch, Jorjeane Marie, and Cassandra Campbell. To be honest, seeing that list of narrators is part of what made me select the book and they did not let me down – they all did a terrific job.
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