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“The Lightness of Hands” | Reviewed by Lynda Klarner

Updated: Jul 21

Jeff Garvin’s young adult book “The Lightness of Hands” is the story of 16-year-old Ellie Dante. Her father, Elias, is a famous magician who attempted an extraordinary illusion 10 years ago on live TV and the illusion failed—this incident was a career-ending failure.

Ellie’s mother loved performing on stage with Elias, and Ellie inherited her mother’s talent and love for the stage. However, shortly after Elias’s failed performance, Ellie’s mother committed suicide making Ellie fearful of the impact performing would have on her emotionally.

Like her mother, Ellie suffers with Bipolar II Disorder and she fears she may follow in the footsteps of her deceased mother. For this reason, Ellie decides she cannot perform magic despite her love for the stage.

Since her mother’s death, Ellie has had a difficult lifestyle. She and her father have taken on any small magic act by traveling the country in a decrepit RV, all this just to make ends meet.

Their continuous travel and unusual hours make attending public high school difficult so Ellie struggles with online courses to obtain her GED. Her plan is to graduate and enter a nursing program with the goal of having steady income and insurance so she can safely care for herself and her aging father. Ellie believes that she has traded roles with her father; that she is the person responsible for the survival of their small family unit.

The author’s story about the struggles Ellie and Elias endue touch the heart, Garvin’s characters so true-to-life. Despite her diagnosis, Ellie is an intelligent, innovative and brave young lady. She battles through unfathomable obstacles in her struggle to survive. Ellis is an amazing young lady and her brave battle to succeed makes for a terrific read.

Ellie’s mother loved performing on stage with Elias, and Ellie inherited her mother’s talent and love for the stage. However, shortly after Elias’s failed performance, Ellie’s mother committed suicide making Ellie fearful of the impact performing would have on her emotionally.

Like her mother, Ellie suffers with Bipolar II Disorder and she fears she may follow in the footsteps of her deceased mother. For this reason, Ellie decides she cannot perform magic despite her love for the stage.

Since her mother’s death, Ellie has had a difficult lifestyle. She and her father have taken on any small magic act by traveling the country in a decrepit RV, all this just to make ends meet.

Their continuous travel and unusual hours make attending public high school difficult so Ellie struggles with online courses to obtain her GED. Her plan is to graduate and enter a nursing program with the goal of having steady income and insurance so she can safely care for herself and her aging father. Ellie believes that she has traded roles with her father; that she is the person responsible for the survival of their small family unit.

The author’s story about the struggles Ellie and Elias endue touch the heart, Garvin’s characters so true-to-life. Despite her diagnosis, Ellie is an intelligent, innovative and brave young lady. She battles through unfathomable obstacles in her struggle to survive. Ellis is an amazing young lady and her brave battle to succeed makes for a terrific read.


Reviewed by Lynda Klarner


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