Title: The House of Six Doors
Author: Patricia Selbert
About: Mama takes thirteen-year-old Serena and her sister to the US in search of fortune, leaving behind their multicultural family, stability, and the colors of the Caribbean. After driving from Miami to Hollywood, their money and luck run out and a 1963 Ford Galaxie becomes their first American home. Guided by the memory of her native Curaçao and the words of her wise grandmother, Serena confronts unimagined challenges and grows up quickly. What gifts will this new country bring, and at what price?
My thoughts: Isn’t that a lovely cover? (click on it for a closer look) That’s what drew me to the book and then Patricia Selbert’s characters took over from there. We experience everything through Serena’s eyes. Her mother is chasing the dream of being rich and doesn’t understand why her children don’t share that dream. Serena and her sister would just like to follow their own dreams but instead end up trying to please their mother by doing whatever she asks/demands from them.
No matter how many times I told Mama that I loved her, she didn’t believe me. Mama believed love was something that could not survive without money. Her willingness to distance herself from her family in order to chase prosperity around the world baffled me. She thought she could only be loved if she were rich. (p. 240)
Serena transforms from an innocent girl to a young woman learning about life. She overcomes obstacles in her education and works through the results of some poor decisions.
My favorite parts of the book are those when Serena remembers lessons her grandmother, Oma taught her:
Serena, your mother is taking you away from Curaçao in search of happiness. She thinks happiness is found in prosperity somewhere out there, but happiness is found only here – in our hearts.
…You can travel the entire world, win the lottery three times over, and still never find happiness. (p.145)
I enjoyed Patricia Selbert’s novel. I found the story to be strongest in the parts that take place on Curaçao. The setting and people came alive for me – just like the beautiful cover.
Recommend? Yes, to fans of coming-of-age stories.
Source: BookSparks PR