Comfort Snowberger is well acquainted with death since her family runs the funeral parlor in their small southern town, but even so the ten-year-old is unprepared for the series of heart-wrenching events that begins on the first day of Easter vacation with the sudden death of her beloved great-uncle Edisto.
Original publication date
No stranger to the grief of others, Comfort witnessed 247 funerals. When
When her childhood friend betrays her and her cousin Peach gets on her every last nerve, she has her wonderful dog Dismay to get her through.
spoiler --- When Dismay tragically is lost, Comfort's grief is severe. Realizing that we grieve in equal measure to the love we received and give, Comfort incredibly shines through.
This is a book of hope, of sunshine through the rain, of images that melt your heart and then make you laugh right out loud.
With characters named Tidings, Comfort, Dismay, Baby Merry, Declaration and Peach, the creativity leaps from the pages.
The loss in this story is poignant, but tempered by facts about funerals, humorous events, and a surprise change of character for Peach.
I would recommend this book for students who are interested in writing, or who have not recently lost someone close to them. I'm sure it would be much harder for someone who had experienced a recent loss to read this book.
OTOH, I found the protagonist's journey through some tough times to be well-imagined and accessible. I liked the unrelieved sadness, of course.
But I can't get over the twee factor.
From the book cover Comfort Snowberger is an Explorer, a Recipe Tester, and a Funeral Reporter. Writing about dead people might seem like a strange hobby for a ten-year-old, but Comfort grew up in a funeral home, so she knows how to deal with death.
Or at least
But then something happens that makes Comfort realize how strong she really is … all on her own.
This is a lovely Southern coming-of-age story that deals frankly but gently with the realities of death, in a manner that children can easily understand. I loved Comfort and how genuinely compassionate she was, even when exasperated beyond endurance by her eight-year-old cousin’s “ruining everything.” She is obviously loved by an extended family, and cherishes her particular role in the family’s funeral business. She’s imaginative and self-confident, but not immune to the hurts of childhood or feeling selfish. She’s a wonderful character. Her indomitable spirit will endear her to readers.
Fair warning … while this is a generally happy, hopeful book, you will need some tissues. ‘Nuff said.
Kim Mai Guest does a fine job of reading the audiobook version. She really brought the book to life with her performance. She has a perfect “whiny” Peach voice that just made me laugh, and made me as exasperated with him as Comfort obviously was. And her gentle Mama’s voice was the perfect balm during those sections that were more stressful.
Comfort Snowberger (most of the characters have exceptionally odd names) is the 10 year old daughter in a family owned funeral
But then death comes calling. And it's different when it's members of Comfort's own family, than when it is other people in the community. Comfort's best friend, Declaration has spontaneously decided to be mean to Comfort, and a few months after her great-great uncle's death, her great-great aunt follows.
And that's just the beginning. To say much more would give away too much.
I highly recommend the book, but if, like me, you are prone to tears - read it alone in a private place. And if you don't like sad books, do not walk, RUN away from this one!
Liked this when it was My Girl.