It is the hot prairie summer of her twelfth year and Elsie is at a crossroads. Her beloved mother who is mentally ill has been hospitalized, and Elsie thinks that the breakdown is all her fault. Mental illness is simply not discussed in Elsie's close-knit Mennonite community and she is rudderless. Nothing Elsie does seems to go right: there s no pleasing her bossy older sister; she forgets to feed the cat, so her father gives it away; she's supposed to watch out for her younger sister, but she lets her come home alone from the swimming pool (despite the lurking menace of a weird stranger around town); and she bargains with God to make her mother well again to no evident avail.
Elsie's conversations with God, her struggle to overcome guilt, and her honest desire to prove herself are laced with a wicked wit and clarity of vision. Almost Eden is a beautiful portrait of a town, a family, and a young woman willing to challenge the things that don t make sense to her, and to fix the things that don t seem right.