REVIEW: INVISIBLE ELLEN, BY SHARI SHATTUCK

18693626Ellen Homes lives life on the sidelines. Overweight and with a scar on her face, she not only feels invisible, but she sets up her life to reinforce that feeling. She works nights, cleaning, at Costco; she lives in a studio apartment where she can view all of her neighbors and keeps notes on their activities; and she is afraid to voice her needs. She learned invisibility early in her life in a series of foster homes, after being abandoned by her abusive mother.

Then one day, she observes a blind woman on the bus: someone who is not afraid to ask her for help in finding her stop. And captivated, Ellen follows her off the bus, and serendipitously, sees three men attack the woman and grab her purse. Suddenly, Ellen finds herself in an unlikely position. She does something….by tripping the runaway purse snatcher and further incapacitating him by stepping hard on his foot.

What begins as an ordinary Good Samaritan moment changes everything about Ellen’s life. Temerity, the blind girl, swoops in and includes Ellen. Invites her to dinner, brings her along on other good deeds…and soon Ellen is involved.

What other serendipitous moments bring Ellen into further involvement in helping others and changing her outlook? How will Ellen, Temerity, and Temerity’s brother Justice team up to bring a halt to a crime?

Invisible Ellen is a captivating story of how life can change and turn in a whole new direction by one act. And how one act can lead to more, until someone on the sidelines feels needed. How someone invisible can truly become a participant in life instead of simply an observer. Four stars.