Caity and her sister Kara get along pretty well, considering their home life. By sticking together and staying out of their mother's way, they manage to make it to school on time, get meals together, and protect one another from their mother's terrifying and seemingly random verbal and physical attacks. A few sympathetic friends, like Brandon from next door, make a big difference. But when their mother storms out of the house with a suitcase and doesn't come back, they have to face a new reality--they can't cope entirely on their own for long. Yet, as Caity comes to realize, there is a lot they can do to take control of their future. This sensitively written novel deals frankly with parental abuse, but is ultimately about the resilience and resourcefulness of young people who beat the odds.
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Carol Lynch Williams, a two-time winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition, is the author of several books for children, including two novels about the Orton family of New Smyrna, Florida: Kelly and Me and Adeline Street. A starred School Library Journal review of The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson praises Williams as she "again demonstrates her facility at mood and character development... Truer colors are hard to come by."
Her most recent novel, If I Forget, You Remember, is a moving intergenerational story that stresses the bonds that hold families together through difficult times--a help since over 19 million Americans have a family member with Alzheimer's disease.
During the first disturbing chapters of this novel set in Florida, Williams (Kelly and Me; Adeline Street) graphically describes the abuse of two sisters by their apparently psychotic mother. Mrs. Jackson's behavior is never predictable; still, it comes as a shock to the reader as well as to 12-year-old Caitlynne and 11-year-old Cara when she storms out the door with her suitcase and typewriter to write a "blockbuster bestseller." Left with 43 dollars and a fresh batch of bruises, the girls feel relief when their mother is gone. But when the money is spent and Cara nearly drowns in a swimming accident, Caitlynne realizes they need adult help. Without a phone and inspired by the characters in the novel Homecoming, they set off on a day-long bicycle trip to their grandmother (who, according to their mother, doesn't even like them). This tale of abandonment and survival effectively expresses the gradual strengthening of Caitlynne's spirit, yet portraits of some important minor characters, including the grandmother, are as vague as the two-dimensional characterization of the children's monster-mother. The author is more successful at conveying the bond between two sisters in trouble. Scenes showing the girls' attempts to soothe each other's physical and emotional wounds add a strong undercurrent of tenderness to this often harrowing drama. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Delacorte Books for Young Read, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110385322496