Bitsy's Labyrinth
by Mary Andonian

Good Thief Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-983-10750-1.
Reviewed by Judy Miller
Posted on 03/11/2011


I love labyrinths and lavender. My daughters? Not so much. So, the idea of tying them into a young adult novel drew me to read Bitsy's Labryinth. I was not disappointed.

Author Mary Andonian wastes no time introducing us to thirteen year-old Bitsy, girlfriends Josie and Gina, and boy extras Dylan and Nick. Through the use of nicely paced dialogue the reader is quickly introduced to and understands how these thirteen year-olds roll and don't. The reader also learns a lot about the teens' relationships within their families and how their parents regard each other. The kids are the conduit...

Bitsy lives with her mom, a recovering alcoholic and older sister Ellen, who is struggling with her own issues. Bitsy's father is remarried and not available.

Bitsy's Labryinth is set in the sweltering Oregonian summer heat and is almost a character in and of itself. The lavender farm and upcoming lavender fair keeps Bitsy's mom preoccupied.

The labyrinth—the symbol for finding the wholeness—is central to the story and affects individuals and their relationships, teens and adults. Labyrinths have long been used to symbolize the journey to one's center or peace and back out into the world. Walking a labyrinth often leaves the person walking it feeling connected to themselves and a higher purpose. The way in is the way out.

Lavender also plays a big part in the story. It provides an emotional balm for Bitsy's mother, infusing the honey she makes from the bees it attracts, and providing an income. But bees...they sting, don't they?

Andonian provides Book Group Discussion Questions and a Finger Labyrinth in the back of the book. Wonderful tools that will encourage young girls to delve deeper and understand the intricacies of the story.

Mary Andonian penned her first book, a memoir titled, Mind Chatter: Stories from the Squirrel Cage, in 2005. Chapter Twenty Two, Better Ways, took Honorable Mention in the inspirational category for Writer's Digest. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters. Visit her website.

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