Downtown Press(Pocket), May 2003, 12.00, 306 pp.
In Missouri, a car accident kills the mother of the Norris sisters leaving them with only each other as their father has not been around forever. The older sibling, Mary Beth uses her uncanny ability to know people's desires by “reading” the songs that stay and play inside their heads to earn money and prestige. As a song reader she has helped the townsfolk, who cherish her. By being her sibling, her preadolescent sister Leeann too has received some of the accolades. People heed the advice of the older sister when it came to marriage, divorce, and just about any other affair of the heart relationship choices.
However, the heroine quickly falls off the pedestal when her advice turns tragic. Not only are some of her former worshippers down on her, but Mary Beth cannot cope with the subsequent disaster. She retreats inside her own world, leaving it to Leeann to face the truth and search for their lost father even while struggling with the collapse of her too human champion.
THE SONG READER is a delightful look at a family already in trouble when a new crisis nearly debilitates the breadwinner. Lisa Tucker avoids soap opera clichés with her powerful portrayal of the two sisters, whose relationship with one another and with townsfolk dramatically turns on one event. Readers fortunate to read this insightful character study will sing the praise of Ms. Tucker for this unusual tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner