Alexandra and Josh Hammond live a somewhat stressful life. Their daughter, Tilly, has a disorder that really can’t be classified. She isn’t exactly autistic, but close. She doesn’t have Asperger’s, but almost. She can’t seem to connect to social norms and sees everything as strictly black and white and she has no control over her impulses.
Since Tilly has been kicked out of every school she has ever attended, Alexandra takes it upon herself to find a way to “fix” Tilly. And she thinks she’s found the answer. Scott Bean has a way of talking Alexandra down from the ledge. His no-nonsense, very easy-going manner and his suggestions on how to handle Tilly are actually helping.
All Alexandra wants is Harmony for her family. And author Carolyn Parkhurst weaves a story that is so very real about families with special needs children and the lengths some might go to find any harmony at all.
Scott is there for Alexandra. When she hits the end of her rope he becomes the knot that allows her to hold on. It’s a “right place, right time” scenario for Scott to come in and convince her and Josh that Camp Harmony is the only way to take back her life.
And it is working. Scott is really good with Tilly and the other kids who have similar issues. He makes a difference and Tilly seems much more capable of controlling herself.
Tilly’s younger sister, Iris, is the “normal” child, or the “good kid” as Scott tells her. Iris sometimes questions Scott’s motives and his honesty, but she loves her family and she is willing to go along with it all because that is what has been asked of her.
Tilly’s black and white issues also led her to believe that if something does not go exactly as planned, the imagined outcome would be far more damaging than the reality usually is. Strangely enough, Scott tends to have the same sort of ideology, but no one sees that in the beginning.
As other families come to Camp Harmony for help in dealing with their children, the families who live there truly believe in what they are doing. But when one of the kids is kidnapped, everything begins to implode. Choices are made that affect every aspect of camp life and not one person will be left unchanged.
Is Camp Harmony a cult? Or is it just a group of families who will do anything they possibly can to help their children grow and thrive. And what about the rest of us? Would we shake our heads at the senseless adults who followed a cult leader, or would we have done the same thing given all the same circumstances?
The audio version of Harmony is a very easy, quite soothing narration. Cassandra Campbell who is the voice of Alexandra does a really good job of showing the desperation of a mother who has no idea how to cope with a child like Tilly. Abigail Revasch and Jorjeana Marie also narrate as Iris and Tilly.
Iris tells the story of what happens at Camp Harmony, while Alexandra fills in the back story. Tilly narrates the Hammond Family Life as it would one day be sure to appear in the museum of Hammond Family History.
All in all, a really good book and a nice flow of narration.
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