Crossing the Street
by Molly D. Campbell
Life sometimes creates situations that require that you adapt in ways you never would fathom or expect. Beck finds herself feeling alone, losing her boyfriend to her sister who managed to snag and marry him and then finds herself knee deep in the lives of no only her older neighbor across the street, but in the life of the sister who she would rather distance herself from and keep out of her life. Beck Throckmorton is about to enter what some might say her own version of a nightmare and the twilight zone. As comes face to face with her fears, her anger and her frustrations. Families can drift apart but the author of this book has created several unique situations that remind readers of the meaning of forgiveness, family loyalties, love, redemption, understanding, faith and hope.
Ella Bowers if 83 years old and she and Beck have bonded. In walks eight year old Bobby/Bob/Roberta Bowers whose father is deployed overseas in the service and whose mother Rowena is a drug addict and no longer in her life. But, things change and a simple friendship begins as Beck finds herself walking across that fabulous street of hers into the lives of these two extraordinary people. Bob is amazing as she is now living with her great-grandmother, Ella and is smart, astute, able to care for her, independent and just wants to be loved, needed and accepted but so does Beck want all the same things. Her sister Diana is not the nicest person in the world as she is self-centered, self-absorbed and most of the times thinks everyone needs to cater to her every whim and wish. So, why do they? Beck works at Starbucks part time and is a writing or erotica romance novels but can’t reconcile herself with how Bryan wound up with her sister. Living in this small suburban Ohio town and friends with Ella, her best friend, would not only bring her closer to Bob but eventually considering her another best friend. Beck at the start of the story reminds us that she does not want kids, has no patience for them but what happens throughout this novel changes it all. Bob is really a great kid and Beck introduces her to Hallie who is the same age and the two of them bond like sisters. But, at times Bob is silent and wonders why she has not been able to speak to her father and why her mother was so mean to her and took drugs. Rowena appears but just for a short moment as you begin to realize why she commands the use of drugs, gives up her precious child but you the reader will decide whether you understand Bob and her feelings. But, first Beck finds herself knee deep in Bob’s life as Ella falls, needs 24 hour care and the job of taking care of Bob falls on her. Added in we have Diana, her sister, Claire her mother who demand that she drops everything, help her sister take care of baby Alexander and find time to create her next bestseller. Relationships change throughout this novel as we also meet Gail, who is Beck’s friend and tries to keep her centered. Introducing her to Theo is just a short distraction as things do not turn out the way they appear to be, directions change and when Ella gets sick and is in the hospital he seems to want to take what some call a break but in reality he wanders off in a different direction. Trips to the ER, helping Diana deal with a colic baby, a husband who deserts her and does not want to deal with her moods, her inability to perform at the drop of a hat and refuses to help with his son, Diana soon realizes that mistakes are made and have been made all around. Bryan was wrong for Beck and for her and they seem to be reliving what their father did to their mother.
With Ella needing surgery and rehab and Bob needing someone to mind her, she and Beck fall into a steady rhythm and all Bob wants to do is make her great-gran well, have fun eating popsicles, playing Uno and caring for the one person that she trusts and depends on. It took time for her but each time Ella falls back she worries she is going to lose her. This is a story of a young 8 year old wise child who unless you are hardhearted you will fall in love with her and just want to give her a big huge hug. She is special, unique but human and when her father finally calls once a week from the army she is thrilled and feels hopeful but is that enough? Some of the scenes are hilarious when Beck tries to change Alex, deal with his dirty diapers and has to soothe and reconcile her feelings with Diana. Each one dealing with her own thoughts, demons to fight and hope for some semblance in life as Diana moves into Beck’s apartment, Beck lives next door and a permanent solution must be found as Ella does not seem to be coming back in full strength and needs permanent care. Janey is the caregiver who is sterling, wonderful and seems to be able to read the minds and needs of not only Bob and Ella but Beck too. But, Bob is restless and like all children she want a constant in her life and having a mother on drugs, someone whom she will never relate to or depend on what happens when she appears out of nowhere? This is a tough story as Beck needs to reconcile with Diana, Bob needs to decide if she wants to read a letter sent to her by Rowena, will she give her the five minutes to see her and what effect will that have on her? Telling Beck she needs to not hate Diana leads to many scenes where you realize why but both are guilty of providing guilt trips and the final outcome will Bryan will surprise readers and Diana too. While Ella has another scare and winds up in the hospital Beck suggests a special Halloween party to cheer up Bob and everyone else. The preparations are made but first we hear Bob talking with Rowena and the end result you will have to learn for yourself as a mother bears it all, states why she is there and expects an eight year old to comprehend and deal with the final outcome. Some endings are beginnings and when Beck realizes her own dreams, when the roller coaster might finally stop at the bottom the ending will bring tears to reader’s eyes as the author provides a surprise ending that will create an emotion charge within the reader and the characters too. Love, understanding, hate, distrust, faith, hope, acceptance, loyalties, family ties, emotional upheavals, joy, smiles, laughter and humor are all part of this heartwarming novel by author Molly D. Campbell who created real life characters with real life problems who this reviewer would love to see what ‘s next for all of them hoping the author will allow Beck to realize that great things are in store for her when CROSSING THE STREET.
FRAN LEWIS: JUST REVIEWS/MJ MAGAZINE
THIS BOOK GETS FIVE CHERRY POPSCICLES