In Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall, we follow the life and exploits of Pearl Jaeger, a young woman who is on her own and homeless at a time most are dreaming of their first prom. Pearl has grown up with the privilege of having a rock star as a mother, but JJ has become the product of her life. Drugs and poverty are more her mainstream and Pearl is not interested in following her path. Angry and hurt Pearl has learned a lesson in trust. For her she has learned she has to look out for herself, and any happiness is only fleeting, for danger and drugs are always just around the corner.
When her Mother passes, her Uncle who has never had a good thing to say about her mom, becomes her guardian, he sends her to an elite boarding school. She is ready to shift her life and uses this challenge as a way to move forward.
Her sanity seems to come in the form of an art teacher who seems as messed up as she is, and when she has to face her own demons, she finds that what she thought was important isn’t as simple as she imagined.
Through friendships at the school, especially one with a boy named Grant, she finds she has the tools to trust, but can she just rely on these new skills or will her future be forged by her mother’s past. Will Pearl be courageous, as she dreams of, or will the past catch up and take her back into the morass of drugs and failure?
Hall has given us a glimpse into the life that we sometimes hear of, and she gives us characters that are both flawed and human. JJ wants nothing more than to be famous again, yet she continues on a path that drags her further and further into pain. Pearl tries hard to hold her life together, but she too is being pulled into the spiral that draws her mother. You find yourself rooting for Pearl as she searches for her own courage to beat the demons that destroyed her mother.
If you enjoy literary fiction with a depth of emotion and the creation of hope and courage you will find Pearl to be just the work. This would be a great find for your library and a great summer read.
Book clubs or reading groups would find this a great find for their discussion groups as it will add a great deal of dialogue for their inspection.