Book 24: See You at Harry’s, Jo Knowles

I am not sure if I really missed reading books or I just lack of something better to do, but it feels like I’ve been really reading a lot lately. My twenty-fourth book is another of Jo Knowles, called See You at Harry’s. It’s about Fern, a twelve-year-old girl who’s family is in the ice cream business called Harry’s.

I was reluctant to read this book at first. The thought of reading a life of a twelve-year-old, fictitious or not, doesn’t sound appealing to me. What could I possibly learn? What new knowledge would I be able to acquire from a little girl’s mind? I don’t mean to sound like a self-satisfied grown-up but, I guess I am just in one of my unknown phases, and maybe I am a little quite done being fascinated by Goosebumps reads. So anyway, I am glad that I considered reading it, and I am reminded of one of Albus Dumbledore’s pick-up lines. Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.


The book is mainly about how a family copes, and faces the daily challenges of life, big, small and even tragic. Sara, the eldest of Fern’s siblings is in her gap year before college. Holden is about to come out of his closet of being gay, and Charlie, the youngest being three, starts to be a real pain, as adorable as he was. Their dad tries so hard to establish and keep their ice cream business with ideas that seemed too ridiculous and exploiting, while their mom tries to be in the supportive role. But the all seemingly happy and almost-perfect family suddenly faced with the most tragic event any family could ever experience – a devastating loss of a member. See You at Harry’s shows just how a family deal with loss and grief. I like the fact that, despite the all-time, all-natural nagging and quarrelling between the siblings, Fern, Sara and Holden remained supportive of each other. And that despite the grief and the pain they are all feeling, they still found a way to make some things, if not everything, seemed normal and good. And my favorite part is, when they stand for each other against the mom and dad! I just love the way they support Holden in his identity struggle (well, it’s more like his coming out as gay), especially during the dining room scenes where their dad seemed to be too intense about the issue. I guess, nowadays, that’s what a family must be like. Supportive and caring and understanding. You can’t just possibly expect all that from people outside the house, right?

This another work of Jo Knowles has a lot of realization when it comes to families. It isn’t just about Fern’s twelve-year-old point of view. It’s the point of view of a mind that shows what these young people are expecting from us, adults. They may appear strong, smart and a bit sophisticated nowadays, but of course, they till need all the help that they can get from grown-ups around them. A perfect read for the whole family.


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