Review: Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf


Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.


My Review: 

Heather Gudenkauf delivers an emotionally gripping story, that will tug on your heart throughout the entire book. This book has two stories that eventually intertwine. Both of the stories ripped me to shreds from beginning to end.

This book is written from two alternating points of view. First is, Ellen, a devoted social worker and married mother of 3 kids. Second, Jenny, an 11 year old who has been dealt a very raw hand in life. I think alternating chapters with the two main characters’ was a great tactic that eventually tied both stories together. It really kept me guessing on what would happen next. The characters were very well developed and their stories were so intriguing. It was amazing how the author was able to convey how deeply a person can be enveloped in their world and how that passion can lead to a loss of reality.

The secondary characters were definitely instrumental to this book and were well written, as well. Had they not been in the story line, this book would have been a total emotional disaster for me, in my opinion. They helped support the situation throughout out the book and calmed my emotions, that were running rampant as I intently followed the story lines. As the reader, I could only handle so much emotional turmoil, so the other characters provided a great balance.

This book solidly portrays how horrible incidents can happen to anyone. Even the best people on earth are not exempt from tragedy. Mistakes and accidents, unfortunately, happen and we are often tested on how we handle these situations and prevail through times of darkness; sometimes we are rewarded with Little Mercies!

Side Note: As I was reading this book, I often thought as a mother and a wife, how I would feel if I was faced with this same situation and how I would respond? Would I be as brave as Ellen? (Sorry, I give no spoilers in my reviews, so read this book to know what I’m talking about! I highly recommend it!;-)


“You have to look for the little mercies, the small kindnesses and good that come from the terrible.” ― Heather Gudenkauf, Little Mercies


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