Saturday, June 2, 2012

Raising Wild Ginger - Tara Woolpy

In Tara Woolpy's Raising Wild Ginger, we return to the characters and terrain of Lacland, the lovely Minnesotan lake region first introduced to us in Releasing Gillian's Wolves. Gillian's best friend Edward Rosenberg is the star of this novel, which opens with Edward and his partner, Sam DaCosta, celebrating their anniversary. The men have built a good life together over the past few years: they have a loving relationship, reasonably fulfilling careers, a beautiful house on a lake. But Sam wants children, and Edward is reluctant to become a parent because of his own family history and personal failures in his past. Then Edward's A.A. sponsor Henry mentions Ginger, a twelve-year-old girl who has survived horrific abuse and several failed foster placements. Edward and Sam might be her last hope, and Edward tentatively agrees to give it a try. When Ginger arrives, the men must quickly learn not only how to be parents, but parents of a teenage girl, and a very troubled one at that. Ginger begins to act out, and Sam second guesses their decision. Edward, however, discovers he has it within himself to become a parent after all, and leads the way to their truly becoming a family.

I very much enjoyed this touching story. Raising Wild Ginger is the perfect follow-up to Releasing Gillian's Wolves (which you do not have to read first in order to enjoy this novel) - once again, Woolpy has created characters that are wonderfully likeable - flawed but kind, human in their failings, but tremendously generous in spirit, the kind of people you'd like to know. A fairly familiar story of child adoption is made more interesting by the reversal between Edward and Sam and by the added complexity of family dynamics in a non-traditional family. I would have liked to have seen just a little more development of the early relationship between Ginger and Sam, but that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. It's a lovely choice for those times when you're looking for something easy, heartwarming, and thoughtful.

You can learn more about author Tara Woolpy at her website Bats in the Boathouse. I was delighted to review Releasing Gillian's Wolves last year and to have Tara as a guest for a wonderful Q&A.

Thanks to the author for an advance review copy of Raising Wild Ginger. Happy reading!

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