Mary Demuth’s Daisy Chain, is the tender coming-of-age story of a hurting boy set in the late 70s. Jed is at the point in his adolescence when questions and confusion out number answers and clarity. When Daisy disappears, 14-year old Jed is left without his best friend. Not only is Daisy missing but, Jed blames himself. As Jed searches for answers regarding Daisy’s disappearance he discovers what it means to be a man and the value of trusted friends and family.
Daisy Chain was my first encounter with Demuth’s writing, and a pleasant one for sure. She creates dramatic descriptions that leave me in awe of her talent. Demuth takes mundane thoughts and conversations and adds the sparkle that makes for entertaining reading. This novel is full of peculiar tidbits. Here are a couple of my favorites: “…Jed scatted the air with a wave of his hand…an aerial Etch A Sketch.” and a few pages later Miss Emory says, “…you’re sticking to me like Elmer’s until I find out.”
Demuth does a tremendous job introducing us to Daisy and developing her personality even though Daisy soon becomes a secondary character. Throughout the book enough details and descriptions are given of Daisy to understand why Jed misses her greatly. I only wish Daisy was a prominent character for more of the book so the reader could enjoy her flamboyant and vibrant personality.
My only nitpick; Demuth left me hanging with the last word. The last page does not give up the answers to my questions, no matter how long I stare. Although, this is a sure way to persuade me to read the sequel. A Slow Burn, the second in the trilogy, was released in November of 2009.
A broad audience will enjoy Daisy Chain. Demuth’s writing style is such that young teens through older adults will enjoy the novel. For those who face struggles beyond their years, you will connect with Jed and his attempt to make peace with his world. For those who lost someone dear at a young age, you will understand Jed’s sorrow and guilt. For those who have ever questioned God, you will relate to Jed’s doubt and distrust.