Comfortby Joyce Moyer Hostetter
World War II is over and Ann Fay Honeycut has new challengesmostly her relationship with her father, home from the war, and the emotional and physical demands of polio. Now that Daddy has returned from fighting Hitler and Ann Fay is home from the polio hospital, life should get back to normal. But Ann Fay discovers she no longer fits easily into old… See more details below
World War II is over and Ann Fay Honeycut has new challengesmostly her relationship with her father, home from the war, and the emotional and physical demands of polio. Now that Daddy has returned from fighting Hitler and Ann Fay is home from the polio hospital, life should get back to normal. But Ann Fay discovers she no longer fits easily into old friendships and Daddy has been traumatized by the war. Her family and social life are both falling apart. Ever responsible, she tries to fix things until she finally admits that she herself needs fixing. She travels to the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, where she finds comfort, healing, and even a little romance. Although this invigorating experience does not solve all her problems, it does give Ann Fay a new view of herself. In this Parents' Choice Awards Recommended Book, sequel to Blue, Ann Fay makes new friends, reevaluates old relationships, and discovers her unique place in the community.
I used to love how that vine with its purple flowers grew on everything. But that was before I was in charge of Daddy's garden. Before I had to cut it back all by myself because Momma was in a bad way about my brother dying and didn't care two cents about the garden just then. At the time, I was so mad at war and polio that I took all my anger out on that vine. And I hadn't been back to Wisteria Mansion since. But now I didn't know where else to go and cry myself a river. So I crawled in under the vines which had grown thicker than ever. I pulled my crutches in behind me. Then I collapsed in the pine needles and let it all out. All the sadness about losing my good life before the war. My frustration with not being able to cross the room without crutches. And misery about not having anyone who knew what it felt like to be me! —FROM THE BOOK
At the conclusion of Blue (Boyds Mills, 2006), Ann Fay Honeycutt's daddy is just back from the war and Ann Fay is learning to deal with her polio. The continuation of this determined protagonist's story is even richer than the first installment. It is 1945, and life is anything but normal. Ann Fay, now 14, returns to school after missing a year, and even classmates who do not mock her cannot understand her struggles. Her father's moods fluctuate between apathy and rage. When Ann Fay gets the opportunity to travel to Franklin D. Roosevelt's Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, she is torn: her desire to enter a state-of-the-art polio facility is undercut by the nagging belief that her fragile family will not cope well with her absence. Finally persuaded, she leaves North Carolina and quickly learns to love the welcoming, supportive environment of Warm Springs. Romance blossoms, and she makes rapid gains in her mobility. Then Junior shows up unexpectedly with the news that her father is physically abusing her mother. He also professes his feelings for Ann Fay, and the two, once fast friends, are weighed down by a new awkwardness. While readers of Blue will be instantly drawn into this sequel, Comfort stands alone, and newcomers will find much to appreciate in Ann Fay's attempts to come to terms with the confusion around her. Hostetter's beautiful story about rebuilding, with absorbing back matter about post-traumatic stress disorder and disability rights, is exceptional historical fiction.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
"Contains vivid descriptions of postwar rural America, polio treatment, small-town life, the ravages of war and the importance of family." --Kirkus Reviews
"The best part of Comfort is Hostetter's loving depiction of life in the rural South in the 1940s." --Booklist
"Exceptional historical fiction." --School Library Journal
Meet the Author
Joyce Moyer Hostetter received a BA degree in early childhood education at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina. Since then, she has continued her studies in special education at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and in art at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She lives near Hickory, North Carolina
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After reading BLUE, I was not disappointed by the sequel, COMFORT. The story of Ann Fay's continued recovery from polio and her devastation was incredibly inspiring. I have read stories about polio before, but this one was different because the disease affected the Honeycutt family so deeply. Ann Fay's difficult choice is relatable with many people's stories today - the choice between caring for yourself and helping your family. When Ann Fay decides to go to Warm Springs, she is greeted by one of the most nourishing and wonderful experiences of her life. My heart leaped as she began to get well. But soon after she begins to heal, she discovers that her family's happiness is in jeopardy. She must put her own wellness aside as she returns home. COMFORT is filled with love and the longing for wellness, and the small, interesting bits make up a completely refreshing novel for older readers.