Recovery in the Media: #65. Pictures of Hollis Woods

Pictures of Hollis Woods

This novel depicts a young girl who slowly realizes the need to open herself up instead of staying locked in pain.

65. Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

Growing up can be a challenging time for any youth. However those in the foster system face many difficulties that those with loving families do not. Few books touch on this element as honestly yet tactfully as Pictures of Hollis Woods. Although written for children, the themes and emotions in it apply to all ages.

Synopsis: No one wants to care for orphaned Hollis Woods. Not only is she already 12-years-old instead of an adorable toddler, her isolated and stubborn temperate make her a less than ideal child. Hollis’ life changes, however, after she is brought to the home of a retired art teacher named Josie. Healing begins to enter the preteen’s life as she discovers her creative skills with Josie’s guidance. However, the elderly woman’s forgetfulness and the girl’s deep pain begin to threaten the new life for which Hollis deeply longs.

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To Parents: Children Opening Up

My father and my sister Maria years ago. Parents support us so much.

My father and my sister Maria years ago. Parents support us so much.

“Have you really struggled with. . .that?” A man asked me quietly after I had shared about my eating disorder. When I nodded my head, he looked at the ground, raw pain etched across his face.

“My daughter, she has that too. How do you get to a point where you can share that?” The tenderness in his eyes reminded me of my own mother and other parents I had seen caring for their child with mental illness. His tears and those of other families show the agony that support people deal with every day. However, this also brings me hope because it shows me that those children and young adults have others trying to help and love them.

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