Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour
Nina LaCour’s Watch Over Me is a work that sits comfortably in a COVID world where life feels disconnected and set apart, and where isolation may be our best hope for safe haven. This is a story about Mila. As a young woman, Mila is at a junction in her life, taking the first tentative steps towards independence and into a life of her own making.
From the early pages, we learn that Mila has been offered a live-in role as a teacher/carer of a young student whose home is a remote farm on an isolated part of the Californian coast. Mila was approached to take on this role by a strangely attentive couple who seemed more than naturally curious about Mila’s past circumstances.
Mila’s childhood experiences were characterised by loss, trauma and neglect. Even now, eruptions of memory arise unbidden, loaded with emotional pain. There is a fragility about Mila that is worrying, and it is with a heavy sense of trepidation that the reader becomes invested in Mila’s welfare and alert to the risks she may be facing.
This story deals beautifully and symbolically with the pain one can carry from childhood, and the irrepressible capacity of the human soul to hope, find renewal and a new narrative to live by. If this book had a weather radar it would show dark and foreboding storm clouds ahead, so, best to read it curled up in a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. For ages 14+