Title: The Half Life of Molly Pierce
Author: Katrina Leno
No. of Pages: 240
Release Date: 8 July 2014
Bottom Line: Poignant portrayal of a teen battling mental illness
“For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now she’s figuring out why. Now she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led . . . and the love that she can’t let go.”
Thoughts: Molly is a very sympathetic character. Some of this sympathy develops naturally as a direct result of the fact that there is something wrong with her. The rest grows from observing Molly’s family and friends as they work to adjust to her obvious confusion. Molly is sick, of that there is no doubt. That her family and friends know the truth is less certain but something which constantly changes all of her interactions and holds a reader’s interest. For, they are not trying to trick, confuse, or punish her, as Molly thinks they are. They are genuinely attempting to help her, something Molly cannot see until the very end. It creates interesting dynamics within the story.
Molly’s struggles are a chilling portrayal of what it is like to lose moments in one’s life and not know why. The heartbreaking labors Molly faces to uncover the truth offsets some of the predictability of the story. In fact, readers enjoy the story specifically because they know what is wrong before Molly does. This knowledge completes the picture, so that one can see Molly as a whole person and not just as the fragmented person Molly sees herself.
The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a quick but weighty read. The whole story opens up what should be an interesting discussion on mental health and its impact on families. The language is simple but powerful, as is the story. Katrina Leno’s debut novel is an impressive glimpse into mental illness.