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Grappling with complicated feelings about her parents' divorce, Philly Mason finds her life further complicated by the arrival of Janey, a retarded young woman who comes to live with Philly, her mother, and her brother, Buster. Jr Lib Guild.
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The author of Bringing Nettie Back (1992) weaves another thoughtful story exploring some of the same themes. After her divorce, Philly's mom took in Janey, a retarded adult institutionalized since childhood; now, with Janey learning job skills and making her own friends, Philly realizes that she's more a member of the family than Dad ever was. When Philly and her brother Boomer visit Dad, they eat takeout and watch basketball on TV; there's nothing to do, no interaction, no sign that Dad cares about them. Meanwhile, Philly follows up on Janey's fond memories of her father and discovers that he totally rejected Janey long ago. Unaware of this, Janey also seeks him out, using her new skills; and by the time Philly has defied her own father (who chooses this moment to exert some ill-considered authority) to find the missing Janey, she is distraught and burning with questions. How could Mom have married Dad? He was brilliant, Mom explains (like Philly; also, like the nerdy rival with whom Janey ends up working on a science project). And why has Mom given Janey a home? Mom loved her retarded older sister but her parents, as was the custom, sent her to an institution. The human dynamics in this easily read novel are portrayed with remarkable subtlety. While Boomer supports his sister, his accommodation with Dad is more easily made than hers. Philly repudiates both parents, then renegotiates relationships on the basis of what she's learned. An unusually compassionate, well- crafted, and entertaining novel. (Fiction. 9-12) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-7-Philura Higley Mason is a bright, spirited sixth grader whose parents are divorced. Her mother has arranged for a formerly institutionalized, mentally retarded adult to live with them, and Janey quickly becomes part of the family. Through this wise and loving young woman, Philly learns much about relationships, interconnectedness, and the definition of happiness. When she finds out that Janey's father is alive, she attempts to reunite the two, which ends in disaster and a falling out with her own father, who has strongly disapproved of this nontraditional living situation. They reconcile their differences, but not without a touch of anger remaining. Believable characters and interesting plot elements are skillfully woven together. Written in the first person, the story smoothly draws the diverse, complex characters and shows the bitter feelings that divorce can cause. Readers discover some of the intricacies of the personalities simultaneously with Philly, and come to see the different natures of families. Her father remains somewhat unclear to readers, just as he does to Philly herself, but she and Janey come fully to life. A dramatic plot without melodramatic treatment.
Marilyn Long Graham, Lee County Library System, Fort Myers, FL
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Atheneum, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0027931277
Book Description Atheneum, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0027931277