It is impossible to read this book and not find yourself craving an apple tart.
I succumbed. Soon after I commenced reading, I found numerous references to apple tarts. Subsequently I scurried to the local market for a pound of sweet butter and a generous handful of crisp apples. I followed the recipe from Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa for French Apple Tart. Slowly my kitchen filled with the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked pastry. Here is the finished product. The verdict: It tasted divine.
After savoring this delicate dessert I was ready to return to the magic of The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald.
"A particular smell surrounded me, the one you get when butter and sugar and spices have been mingled into a single thing and cooked in the oven. And as the pastry melted in our mouths, other things seemed to melt too, like misgivings and doubts and the things that had made us grumpy and withdrawn."
"We're all capable of really beautiful things but really nasty things as well - that's what makes us interesting."
Markus Zusak as quoted by Alison Morris
I found this quote from an interview with author Markus Zusak, which brilliantly sums up the Fitzgerald's poignant story of guilt, loss, bullying, friendship, and the powerful impact of simple acts which can range from vicious cruelty to gentle kindness.
The story is set in contemporary Ireland and told in alternating voices of fourteen year old Oscar and Meg, his neighbor, schoolmate, and friend. This is a fascinating study of human beings, some who resort to acts of genuine beauty as well as individuals who are truly nasty. I agree with Zusak. The contrast between the two makes interesting reading.
- ""And so, everyone came to accept the unacceptable. Oscar wasn't coming back."
- "Once a letter's been read, you can't unread it."
- "I acted as if I wasn't destroyed or defeated. I pretended that I didn't care."
- "Pictures of your mum are not the same as your mum."
- "Peace built on lies is no peace at all."
- I could hear something nobody else could hear, and I saw something nobody else could see."
- "Panic might feel like a bad thing, but in actual fact, it contains thousands of little splinters of hope."
- "Hope is never destructive. Hope is the thing that keeps you going."
- "Nothing is as you think it is. Lots of things are not what they appear to be. Sometimes things look a certain way, but perhaps they are not."
- "Dad says kindness is magic. It looks gentle and mild on the outside, he says, but it has hidden powers."