On the face of it, Dandelion Angel tells of undiagnosed borderline personality disorder in mothers and the legacy this hands down to their daughters who know nothing of psychological interpretation but much about the impossibility of pleasing a demanding parent. In choosing this approach Dandelion Angel hits far closer to home than most stories in which families seem to quickly understand the intricacies of psychology, focusing on the heart of a mysterious, unpredictable family structure that hands down far more than love for generations to contemplate.
Ute, one of the mothers featured in the novel, is impossible to please: she is a 'hermit' whose heart is ruled by fear, with an uncommon ability to tolerate pain but hold it in places where pain usually releases.
In describing her world and her daughter Caren's own legacy, Calico's words are exquisitely sharp and precise in their vivid vision. As readers follow generations who inherit Ute's legacy, they will find the descriptions of family dynamics exquisitely wrought and pointed.
Mothers and daughters. Achievements and failures to communicate. A biography project that threatens much and promises newfound insights. Traumatic memories from war, repressed until they are discounted. All these facets weave a powerful saga that holds out the promise of new blossoms, spring, revival, and how good people emerge from traumatic situations.
Any novel reader who wants a story of women's family connections replete in psychological depth that successfully shows (rather than telling) will find that Dandelion Angel eschews the usual distance of third-person observation by drawing key connections between its protagonists. Can knowing and understanding pain alleviate its force?
Dandelion Angel offers many compelling insights that create much food for thought in a vivid psychological examination with an uncanny ability to hit close to home - and the heart.