This is the third novel by Tish Cohen that I have gobbled up: I loved Town House and The Inside Out Girl and so put The Truth About Delilah Blue on my library hold list as soon as I knew it was to be released.
Lila Mack has lived with her over-protective father since she was eight, believing that her mother no longer wanted to be in her life. Now at age twenty, she is trying to pursue art with no funding from her father. Deciding to work as a life model seems to be a great way to get some free art lessons, as she can listen in to the instructor while she poses. Her mother, who has been searching for her for years, reconnects with her and some pieces fall in to place for Lila. But it’s not a straightforward happy reunion/ending, and Lila/Delilah finds herself having to take on the role of parent to her parents much sooner than she expected.
Cohen writes with great sympathy for each of the three main characters in this novel, drawing us into their lives as they try to make sense of shifting roles. She is able to write about this dysfunctional family with an eye to all sides of the story, to parents who both feel they need(ed) to protect their child from the other, and from the child/woman who has to redefine her relationships with parents who are not who she thought they were.
The Truth About Delilah Blue is a funny and poignant novel, but not depressing. The past is what it is, and Cohen writes honestly about the way forward for Lila who has difficult choices to make as she learns the truth about the present.