Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I enjoy sharing excerpts from books…and connecting with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book is one I recently downloaded; it is from an author I enjoy, but somehow, along the way, I missed this one.

At Risk, by Alice Hoffman, is an inspirational story of one family coming to terms with unspeakable tragedy and immeasurable love.






Beginning:  There is a wasp in the kitchen.  Drawn by the smell of apricot jam, lazy from the morning’s heat, the wasp hovers above the children.  All through town a yellow light is cast over the green lawns and the rhododendrons.


56:  All morning, Ed has been telling himself it would be easier to tell Ivan alone, without Polly; a scientist could better accept the random path of a virus.  Now he knows he’s been kidding himself.  No one can accept the indiscriminate order of cruelty.


Blurb:  In a lovely old house near the coast of Massachusetts, the Farrells go through the routines of a typical August morning. Eight-year-old Charlie, a junior biologist and dinosaur expert, tries to collect another one of his insect specimens. His sister, Amanda, a talented gymnast who at eleven years old is already saving her money to try out for the Olympic team, prepares for her last meet of the summer. Ivan, their absent-minded father, is involved with his work as an astronomer. Out in the garden, Ivan’s wife, Polly, wonders how she can trick her children into eating more zucchini.

They are a family as unique and ordinary as any other, but their world will soon be shattered when Amanda is diagnosed with AIDS. In an instant, everything that gave their lives meaning is ripped away, and the intimacy that once came so naturally vanishes. Too overcome with grief to turn to each other, Ivan and Polly seek solace elsewhere. Charlie is abandoned by his best friend and, for long stretches at a time, forgotten by his parents. Amanda, who holds on to her dreams so tightly, must somehow find a way to let go.

Torn apart by the prospect of their loss, Polly, Ivan, and Charlie must find the courage to come back together again—for Amanda’s sake and for their own. At Risk is an exquisite book about true sorrow and even truer devotion.


I can’t wait to read this one.  Even though this is a story that we see less and less these days, it is hard not to recall those early days after the discovery of the virus.  And realizing that anything can come at us out of nowhere.

What do you think?



  1. This is an older one, right? I remember shelving it many times at the library. Trying to think if I read it. Don’t believe so. Putting it on my list because it sounds so good. And, yes, I do remember those days when there was so much fear about AIDs. Thanks for bringing this one to our attention!


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