Good Thief Press

Bitsy's Labyrinth

Sale price Price $21.57 Regular price

ISBN: 9780983107507
Publisher: Good Thief Press
Publication Date: 2010-12-18
Number of pages: 198
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Willamette Valley, Oregon. It’s Summer Solstice and thirteen-year-old Bitsy Johnson feels utterly abandoned by her mom. She can’t wait to see her dad, even though he’s asked Bitsy to keep his visit from California a secret from his new wife.

Bitsy’s mom, a recovering alcoholic, has dug up a piece of their lavender farm and replaced it with a labyrinth in order to better commune with God. Now Bitsy has to explain to her friends why her mom has uprooted perfectly good farmland for what looks like a swirling paver patio.

Bitsy’s best friend Gina has her back so she’s cool with the labyrinth. Josie thinks it’s lame. Dylan is clueless. And then there’s Nick. Bitsy and Nick are buddies, but lately she’s felt, well, something more.

When tragedy strikes Bitsy’s world, the unexpected happens. And much of it has to do with Bitsy’s labyrinth.


In this largely successful spiritual coming-of-age story, 13-year-old Bitsy feels ignored by her mother, who spends her time helping fellow recovering alcoholics, and by her remarried father, who reneges on promises to visit. She is also alienated from her older sister, who has taken up drinking and smoking. Bitsy's mother, who prays as she walks the labyrinth she built on their lavender farm, explains that she uses it to contemplate problems while walking, and gives the problem to God when she reaches the center. Though Bitsy is skeptical, she too talks to God, asking for help with her family issues. After her best friend Gina gains a sense of calmness from the labyrinth, Bitsy becomes frustrated. In a melodramatic turn of events, Gina's mother, who is battling cancer, dies of a bee sting while walking the labyrinth, after which Bitsy attempts to set it on fire. Andonian has a nice handle on dialogue, and Bitsy's narration, with its gently sarcastic sense of humor and embarrassment concerning her mother's outspoken faith, feels genuine and contemporary as the story makes its way to an upbeat conclusion. Ages 12–18.

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