Author: Katherine Seligman
Genre: General Fiction
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
Book Description: Maddy Donaldo, homeless at twenty, lives with her dog and makeshift family in the hidden spaces of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. She thinks she knows how to survive and whom to trust until she accidentally witnesses the murder of a young man. Her world is upended as she has to face not only the killer but also the police and then the victim’s parents, who desperately want Maddy to tell them about the life their son led after he left home. And in a desire to save her since they could not save their own son, they are determined to have Maddy reunite with her own lost family.
But what makes a family? Is it the people who raised you if they don’t have the skills to look after you? Is it the foster parents whose generosity only lasts until things become more difficult? Or is it the family that Maddy has met in the park, young people who also have nowhere else to go?
Told with sensitivity and tenderness and set against the backdrop of a radically changing city, At the Edge of the Haight is narrated by a young girl just beginning to understand herself. The result is a powerful debut that, much like previous Bellwether winners The Leavers, by Lisa Ko, or Heidi Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, grapples with one of the most urgent issues of our day.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review: Maddy Donaldo is homeless, living in San Francisco. She does her best to stay out of trouble and moves around with her dog and a small group of transients. She witnesses the murder of a man and she is thrown into an upheaval of how to protect herself while doing the right thing.
When she gives her account of what happened to the police, her life ultimately changes. This young man’s family comes to sort everything out and when they meet Maddy they want to help her get out of this life she is living. The one thing is Maddy is not sure she wants to change anything about her life.
There is also a mystery and Maddy delves into what really happened to this man and she starts to investigate this to find that answer out. This is more literary than your typical mystery.
This is a powerful story about a woman coming of age, and trying to find her place in the world. Her voice is strong, and although I did not always agree with her, she never took any of her decisions lightly. She is thoughtful, kind, but does not need or want to accept handouts, except for maybe some spare change. If you have not picked this one up, it might be worth going back and reading this one.
Thank you NetGalley and Algonquin for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.