A stolen baby throws a mother’s life into madness. A young girl yearns for life outside the house she’s virtually imprisoned in. Beth Kephart’s latest, You Are My Only, is packed with raw emotion: loss, confusion, heart break, fear, love, and hope. There’s little by way of literary devices, imagery, flowery language or flourish to mask the bare bones of a powerful story of two young women whose lives seem completely beyond their control.
Emma Rae is nineteen and trapped in a loveless marriage. Baby is the light of her life, her “only”, and when Baby is stolen from the backyard one bright bluemorning, Emma Rae’s life spins out of control. Her husband soon abandons her to the will of the Court, and Emma Rae is institutionalized in the State Mental Hospital. Fourteen year old Sophie is a smart, shy girl whose mother homeschools her, often moving them from place to place, forbidding Sophie from making any contact with others. One day Sophie breaks her mother’s rule and ventures out, meeting the boy next door, Joey, and his two beloved Aunts, who all welcome Sophie with open arms into their warm, loving home. Feeling real love for the first time in her life prompts Sophie to truly look at her mother and their lives, and in so doing, she discovers a terrible, life-changing secret.
Emma Rae and Sophie alternate telling their stories in deceptively simple, emotionally charged, language and their voices so echo each other, it’s painfully clear that they are mother and daughter, separated by one selfish, senseless act. They journey through loss and imprisonment towards freedom and love, and eventually they both understand that even though life may not be easy, with someone to love, you can survive.
- Posted by Cori