Most people wish their dreams came true; one girl wishes hers didn’t.
Coming of age in the South in the 1960s with a large family is a challenge on its own, even more so for someone unusual. Symphony learns this early in Rogan’s debut novel. At 5 years old, she begins dreaming about events before they actually happen. The first and perhaps most nightmarish premonition—which plagues young Symphony throughout all of primary school—involves a wanted criminal. Rather than relying on exposition, Rogan uses dialogue to illustrate Symphony’s coming of age and others’ appreciation of her second sight. “Well baby, you’re not like everybody else. You have something special,” says her grandmother. Symphony’s grandmother is her one real champion, nurturing her ability and restoring her ego each time it crumbles from schoolyard taunting for being overweight or from her father’s regular physical and verbal abuse. Symphony wants to be normal and liked by other kids her age; she also wants to help others with the information she learns in her visions. These sometimes-conflicting desires add tension to the narrative. “Why can’t I just be like everybody else?” she wonders, afraid to reveal incriminating details that might incite anger toward her. The well-paced story traverses nearly two decades of Symphony’s life, from her childhood to the birth of her daughter, coming full circle at the suspenseful climax, when Symphony must employ the gift she denied for much of her life in order to save what’s most important to her.
A novel brimming with authenticity that continually sparks the imagination.