I received this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Akashic Books on 2014-07-01
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, Historical, Literary
Almost everyone in town blames eight-year-old Violet Morgan for the death of her nine-year-old sister, Daisy. Sing in the Morning, Cry at Nightopens on September 4, 1913, two months after the Fourth of July tragedy. Owen, the girls' father, "turns to drink" and abandons his family. Their mother Grace falls victim to the seductive powers of Grief, an imagined figure who has seduced her off-and-on since childhood. Violet forms an unlikely friendship with Stanley Adamski, a motherless outcast who works in the mines as a breaker boy. During an unexpected blizzard, Grace goes into premature labor at home and is forced to rely on Violet, while Owen is "off being saved" at a Billy Sunday Revival. Inspired by a haunting family story, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night blends real life incidents with fiction to show how grace can be found in the midst of tragedy.
Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night treaded water to avoid becoming too dark but never broke the surface of being completely happy. True to its title, it remained balanced precariously above that water level that makes a sad symphony into complete darkness. Yes, I am calling this book a sad symphony.
And I mean that in a good way! The book follows a family that is surely being plagued by some bad luck, between the recent loss of their eldest daughter, the mother descending not just into a depression, but what could easily be called more than a little mentally disturbed, the father taking to the drink, which essentially leaves the remaining daughter an orphan. I don’t even have to try to defend how this book could be sad.
But what I can state is how the book stopped itself from descending too far down that depressive hole and instead managed to tell a story about the resiliency of people and the town. There were a lot of delicate layers in this book: the town’s preparations for Billy Sunday and religion in general, the mining industry, addiction, mental health, and family. These were all layered in such a way that it at no point felt preachy, or overdone. I think it benefited from a third person narrative with different chapters or sections from different characters’ perspectives.
So yes, the title could not have been a better fit for this book.