Losing Hazel, by Lynn Scanlan, is the most unusual book I have ever read. A large white box sat in my mailbox, waiting patiently for my undivided attention. Carefully, my hands scooped up the package and carried it indoors.
I set it down just long enough to grab a pair of scissors from a nearby desk. Peering inside, I saw the standard letter of thanks from my contact agreeing to write a review. Buried underneath was the bound manuscript.
Since the company prided itself on using only natural materials safe for the enviroment, the typical cover did not exist. Instead, I found a binding made of cardboard, a stick, and held together with rubber bands. A blue and white checkered ribbon gaily decorated the stick top.
Scanlan wrote the story of her mother's passing many years after her death. Just so readers do not forget, there is a faded, torn, and much loved picture of Hazel firmly glued on the front cover.
A short story, the description is nevertheless vivid. Readers will not only understand who Hazel was, but how strong an impression she made on her daughter. Being part of a large family, there are also detailed character descriptions as to who was an influence on Hazel.
Lynn Scanlan was only twenty years old when her mother died. Even though Hazel had been hospitalized for blood clots off and on for a very long time, nobody expected that she would die in her sleep.
As the first chapter opens, Lynn gets a phone call from her dad, saying that the hospital has called and wants them there as soon as possible. Lynn immediately suspects the worst, and her fears are confirmed. The doctor in charge will not even let them see Hazel until he has broken the news.
All of the sudden, Lynn and her father have to deal with the pain of losing a loved one as well as the praticalities of giving a funeral. What's worse is that the Scanlan family is one of those who do not make it a habit to share their feelings with one another.
The tribute to Hazel at the end shows the loving respect for her mother that Lynn has developed as a woman.