Maddy Harris is a sad, isolated teenager who is ignored by her father at home and bullied by her classmates at school. Her mother died two weeks after Maddie was born and her father has never recovered, choosing to ignore the daughter who resembles his late wife.
Octogenarian Arthur Moses is trying to get through his solitary days a few months after his beloved wife, Nola, died. He rides the bus every day to the cemetery to eat lunch at his wife’s graveside, updating her about his quiet life.
During one of his cemetery visits, Arthur notices a girl sitting under a tree. Maddy comes to the solitary spot during her lunch hour to escape her cruel schoolmates and find some peace. When the wise, kind Arthur first reaches out to her, Maddy ignores him. They eventually form an incredible friendship that overcomes their loneliness and heartache. Their friendship grows to include Arthur’s opinionated, nosy neighbor Lucille, who is fighting heartbreak and an empty house.
This compassionate story demonstrates how a little kindness can be life changing, and how families are not always biological. Elizabeth Berg is a master storyteller whose memorable characters will stay with me for a long time. It was such a thrill to meet her when she came to our library this summer. Don’t forget to listen to the podcast she made at our library during her visit!