Five Star, Dec 2003, 26.95, 231 pp.
Siblings Maren and Ellison Emory attend the same predominately upper class white high school in the Chicago area. Their mother Vanessa is a host of the national TV show Daily Dish enabling the two African American teens to attend this exclusive school. Everything changes when a repeat DUI driver heading down the wrong side of the road crashes into Vanessa's car, instantly killing her.
Maren and Ellison move to Durham, North Carolina to live with their father, whom they have seen twice in nine years. The two teenagers not only have to adjust to their dad, they also must adapt to being relatively poor and having a grandma who does not seem to like them especially Maren. As the family struggles to accommodate one another, relationship with other individuals like their twenty-one year old step-uncle and their father's girlfriend complicates an already complex scene.
BECOMING MAREN is a superb family relationship drama that hooks the audience from the moment Maren describes the reactions of friends to how her mom died. The story line is character driven so those readers who prefer action will need to go elsewhere. Some of the relationships spin into incest that add little unneeded drama and is diverted from the core interrelationships. Readers who value a deep come together tale will enjoy the struggles of BECOMING MAREN.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner