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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
What Feeds the Heart by Daryl Glinn-Tanner is a slice-of-life novel that follows the story of Jean Marie Stark, a woman whose life irrevocably changed after growing up in a hippie community. After her elderly mother is hospitalized due to another drug overdose, Jean stays by her side, remembering the years she spent with her. A twelve-year-old Jean struggles to feed herself and her younger sister Krystal, as her neglectful and drug-addicted mother and physically abusive stepfather spend little time attending to the needs of their children. As Jean grows up in an environment frequented by drug and sex-fueled parties, she finds comfort in the form of her imaginary friend, Willowthin. However, the scars of abuse and parental neglect persist throughout the years. Can Jean learn to let go and forgive?
A heartbreaking and poignant tale about growing up in a toxic environment, What Feeds the Heart is an enthralling study of the perseverance of the human spirit. Author Daryl Glinn-Tanner explores the ways childhood trauma and abuse shape one's outlook and affect them years down the line. This is one of the finest examples of slow-burn storytelling. A character-driven drama at its core, the narrative is accentuated by the realistic portrayal of the subject matter and the layered characters. Jean's childhood is a tragic case of parental neglect. Unfortunately, it acts as a mirror to the lives of millions of children all over the world today. If you enjoy realistic slice-of-life stories, What Feeds the Heart is the book for you.