A Certain Slant of Light

By Laura Whitcomb

I have read this story a couple of times. It has a bittersweet quality to it. You can’t help but feel for these two souls as they linger in this world.

Helen died 130 years ago and since then has shadowed various hosts throughout their lives. Always hovering in the corner, over their shoulder, and behind flags or curtains. Her most recent host is an English Literature teacher. She loves to watch him grade his student’s papers, even if he has no idea she exists. No one does. Normally.

James is a young boy whose eyes seem to follow Helen’s every move. But why is it he can see her when no one else can? When she finds out he’s another soul having possessed a body she envies him. As they find Helen a body she can overtake they learn just why these bodies are seemingly void of life. And not all bodies are inhabited by good things.

The lives of the two teens they have embodied are not exactly the best. Jame’s has a troubled past with a difficult family. How can someone who comes from a polite background correct another’s messed up life? While Helen’s host’s family isn’t quite so obviously tortured. On the surface they seem to have it all together, it’s what lies in the closets that is misleading. Too much structure can be just as painful as too much freedom.

The unlikely pair begins to aid one another in correcting the lives of those around them. Rebuilding relationships and abolishing others. They learn that no matter how ruined some families may seem that they are still family at the end of the day. They discover the meaning of true love, which may be the key to their actual freedom. They can’t remain in these bodies forever.

When a hard moment starts to overcome Helen a sudden shock awakens her host. It may be just the shock both teens need to return to their own lives. To learn that life goes on no matter how difficult. And that abandoning your life doesn’t solve anything.

I felt for all those involved. There is such a personal love involved. These two beings truly care for each other and make the most of every moment. It gets a bit deep and explores some tough issues in the teenage life. Just how hardships can affect someone. How life can make you want to give up from time to time. Yet, it shows how vital it is to keep going. I recommend this as a quick read that tells a great story. Such is a difficult find but this one delivers. So, of course, take the time!

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