From the publisher...
Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad's funeral.
They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of "grown-up world." A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
If the author's name seems familiar, it should be. One of his previous works has actually appeared here on the site, namely Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes....an interesting read about a young boy with very slippery feet! In this venture into the world of Young Adult literature, we find a family torn apart by tragedy in ways that they've only started to understand. Within a year, the five Peach children have lost their mother, their grandmother and now...their father. Where will they turn for solace and comfort? Where will they receive the love and care they need to make it day to day let alone a lifetime? Thank goodness for their closeness to one another, a trait that is often absent in today's world, for it is this closeness that whispers to them in their darkest hours....everything will be alright.
Though all the children have their moments to make their mark what with their age appropriate rebellions and jumping on beds (or odd...oye!), but the most memorable to me (besides the Batman and Robin excitement) were Teddy and Joanie. They were the eldest of the five (18 and 16, I believe, respectively) and so the duties of mother and father fell directly on their shoulders. Many kids would have folded under the pressure and simply threw their hands in the air in surrender, but not these two. They were determined to make things work NO MATTER WHAT so they could and would remain a family. There were no if's an's or but's about it....they were determined to make things work and work they would...sort of. Well, no one is perfect and it's not like they got any formal training on how to be model parents...they're just two kids trying to make the best of a horrible situation and keep everyone together. A lot of strength in such young hearts but then considering everything they've been through before Yimey's (their dad's) passing... but still having an adult as back up even if they're only half able to assist is better than none at all. Moving forward...
There were a few parts I must point out that rubbed me the wrong way. (Promise, this will only take a second but for the sake of full disclosure, I must make a brief mention.) First, the nicknames for the children. With the number of kids in this family, it was hard enough keeping track of everyone and forming a vision of their character and personality but add to that quirky nicknames and...you almost lost me. Almost. Second, the conversations between the characters at times can come across a bit "run-Spot-run"-ish, disturbing the flow of the story. You have to give your readers some credit that they'll be able to connect the dots of the story even with an intended YA audience....perhaps especially when it's this age group you're aiming for as any talking down to doesn't seem to be taken very well if you know what I mean.
Last but not least is a irritation but also a contemplation. There were several times throughout the book that I literally felt like I was in Church. In truth, at some times you actually WERE in Church due to the circumstances but was it really necessary to include the actual Mass or prayers being recited? To me, though familiar it was over kill....but I can still see where the author was coming from with its inclusion. The BIG message throughout the story is L-Y-N....Love Your Neighbor....and while its use (and abbreviation) was meaningful (and clever) and certainly something worth paying forward, don't be surprised if you want to throw on your Sunday best when reading this one.
Overall, an emotional read that tugs on the heart strings full force with its tragedies, unkind surprises, and love gone wrong but it's through these trials that the message of L-Y-N shines through like a beacon in the night showing us the world we might live in if each of us took a little more time for one another in a moment of neighborly love. You'll laugh (as the children often do). You'll cry (as they often do as well). You'll see the world in a new light as characters reveal their true selves through their actions and lack thereof. The one thing you won't do is walk away untouched by the events that you "witnessed"...feel free to carry that message of love and understanding to the world long after you turn that final e-page.
Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. A former Metal Lather/Reinforcing Iron-worker, he left that business after coming down with MS. He, his wife and three kids moved to Florida 30 years ago. Larry began doing freelance newspaper commentary after graduating from Tampa College in 1984.His first children's picture book, Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes was published in 2011. In 2012, his full length novel, The Priest and the Peaches was released and he is presently working on the sequel.He also has a blog (http://www.thepriestandthepeaches.com/) where he posts weekly commentary. He lives in Pinellas Park, Florida and his kids and six grandchildren all live within three miles of each other.