Darby is twelve years old and has Down’s Syndrome. A Storm of Strawberries is told from Darby’s point of view. For the first two thirds of the book, this proves to be a clever technique and the author, Jo Cotterill is able to convey Darby’s observations, even when Darby herself doesn’t understand the significance of what she is seeing. Unfortunately, this technique fails dismally in the last part of the book when there is crucial information that Darby, and therefore the reader, is unaware of. Since Darby is the main character and the story ends happily for her, the author may feel justified in leaving numerous unanswered questions. However, it’s a dissatisfying way to conclude the book.
The storyline is Darby’s sixteen year old sister Kaydee, has arranged for her friend Lissa, to spend the weekend on the family’s strawberry farm. There is a significant storm event headed their way and Darby’s parents are kept busy with preparations. This means Darby, Kaydee, Lissa, and Olly, Darby’s brother, are left to their own devices for much of the weekend. Over the course of the weekend, Darby, inadvertently discovers that Kaydee and Lissa believe themselves to be gay and in a relationship.
While this is a well written book, where the author makes it possible to relate to someone with Down’s syndrome, the story is actually aimed at twelve year olds, but it contains adult themes. Thus the age of the intended reader is uncertain. This, along with the ambiguous conclusion, makes it a disappointing read.
Thanks to Christian School Supplier for providing a free book for review