The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

5 Stars from me

Holy Moly. How to do this book justice?

I take my hat off to Nancy Tucker – all through this book I just wanted to scoop up little Chrissie and take her home. Bath her, feed her, make her feel safe, make her feel loved, make her feel wanted.

This read more like a fly on the wall documentary than like a story, it felt real and it felt hauntingly plausible. I wonder how many Chrissie’s there are out there (and how many there were at the time when people were less attuned to reporting abuse and less inclined to speak up). Had any of many people who noted that Chrissie wasn’t being adequately cared for spoken up properly and stepped in, it does appear that her life would have been so different.

There were so many chances for the right thing to happen. So many chances for this hungry, dirty, and unsafe girl to have been rescued from her life and provided with the basics that the majority of children are fortunate enough to be able to take for granted.

I felt angry at the teachers, at the neighbours, at the shop keepers at the many medical staff and of course at her mum and dad. Bizarrely, I didn’t at any point feel angry with Chrissie. When of course, I realise I should have despised Chrissie – I should have found her abhorrent and wanted her locked away for ever. Nancy Tucker – how did you achieve this, it’s like you have woven alchemy into the pages of this book!

It surprised me that she was allowed to keep her own child – and yet it didn’t surprise me that she was a good mum. Albeit one who continually doubted herself and scored herself against other mothers. I wonder how her own daughter will turn out with her slightly stilted mum – ultimately though, Molly knows that her mum loves her and most of the time that is 99% of what children need, just pure, accepting, unconditional love.

Got to love Linda, what a sweetheart.

An absolutely riveting book, heartbreaking, yet brilliant.

Blurb: A riveting page-turner about what propels one 8-year-old girl to commit an unspeakable act, and the tensely moving effect it has on the rest of her life – especially once she has a child of her own.

Chrissie is eight years old and she has a secret: she has just killed a boy. The feeling of it made her belly fizz like soda pop. Across her neighborhood, Chrissie’s playmates and their parents are tearful and terrified. But Chrissie rules the roost – she’s the best at wall-walking, she knows how to get free candy, and now she has a secret, thrilling power she doesn’t get to experience much at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.

Twenty years later, adult Chrissie is living in hiding under a changed name. A single mother now, she cares deeply for her own young daughter, which is why she’s so terrified when it appears that people are looking for them. The past is coming to catch up with Chrissie and she fears losing her child, the only thing she cares about.

Nancy Tucker leaves the reader breathless as she considers what happens when innocence and survival instincts collide. Tucker inhabits the voices of her young protagonist with a shocking authenticity and precision that moves the reader from sympathy to humor to horror to heartbreak, and back again.


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