I remember not liking this the first time I read it, but I enjoyed it this time around. I think it wore on my patience the first time around. The story is about a young woman who seems to have an intellectual disability, her life as a single mother, and the neighborhood that helped her raise her child. But there’s one teeny tiny caveat: her child was stillborn.
Camille did understand that her child died, but a few weeks after the funeral, she comes to believe that her daughter, Lydie, was returned to her by the angels. At first her father tried to reason with her, and when that didn’t work, he tried to placate her. The people in the neighborhood initially kept their distance, but after a cruel incident, they all decided to play along. Through baptism, a family photo, a first train ride, elementary school, and so on, everyone was in on it.
During my first read, I was probably annoyed by how long they kept it up, but this time, I’m amazed by it. The neighborhood folks may have humored Camille when they started, but the charade became something of a reality for them, even the kids. Or I should I say, the kids even more so? Because that’s the twist. Some things happened and in the end, you’re just not sure what’s what.
It was a touching and interesting story that left me with questions I’ll probably have to settle on answers of my own making for.