I loved this story. The language was poetic but not just for the sake of being poetic - the way this book is written is part of the story itself.
The heroine, Ari Appleton, reminded me a little bit of Anne Shirley - another feisty, young girl in Canadian fiction whose life starts out rather sadly. However, unlike Anne of Green Gables, this is in no way a children's book. Ari's abusive father commits suicide and her drug-addicted mother can not look after Ari and her five sisters. The girls are split up and packaged off to various relatives - Ari ends up being sent to her aunt in Cape Breton, an island off the eastern coast of Canada and part of the province of Nova Scotia. At first I wondered what awful situation was in store for Ari but instead, for the first time in her young life, Ari is not being told that she is dirt. Rather, her aunt who is a potter, tells her that she is clay - malleable and full of possibilities.
Eventually Ari has to return to her mother and all the dysfunction that comes with her addiction. This, along with her father's abuse and suicide, shape many of Ari's choices as she enters adolescence in the 1960's - a time filled with drugs, sex and experimentation.
While sometimes dark, often humorous and always powerful, Ari's journey to adult-hood is a story that should not be missed.
I highly recommend this book - a must read.