The Tower Room: A Jean Karl Book

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9780689318566: The Tower Room: A Jean Karl Book
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The revelation of her late mother's faults drives Mary Brooke to hide in the tower room of her aunt's home, where she comes to realize her past is holding her back from the chance to succeed in a new place.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

After her mother's death in 1953, fifth-grader Mary Brooke comes to share the family home with Aunt Olive, who's been living there alone. Her aunt seems cold and aloof, in contrast to her fun-loving mother, and Mary Brooke dreams that her unknown father will finally appear. Meanwhile, she's too reserved to make friends, but is intrigued by a sealed-off tower room, once her grandfather's. Finding a concealed entrance, she secretly fixes up the room, working in the afternoons before her aunt gets home. When a girl at school taunts her with the devastating news that her mother died after an illegal abortion, Mary Brooke takes refuge in the room. She hides there all night before, hearing her aunt's despairing sobs at her absence, she comes out; various mysteries are explained, and Mary Brooke discovers how much she and Aunt Olive have in common. This well-crafted novel has all the appeal of a juvenile gothic, plus much more: Mary Brooke and the reader realize together just how selfish, feckless, and promiscuous her mother was; a friendship with the boy next door, which begins when Mary Brooke finds him mourning his cat, adds a nice dimension. It doesn't quite ring true that the other girl knows about the abortion, or that Aunt Olive doesn't know of the second entrance into the tower; but those are small flaws in an unusually engaging story with a real heartwarmer of a conclusion. (Fiction. 9-12) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-7-In this novel set in 1953, Mary Brooke goes to live with her aunt in a small Michigan town after the death of her mother. Mary Brooke is intrigued by the house's closed-off turret and finds a forgotten doorway to the tower room, which becomes her refuge. She dreams of the day her father, whom she has never known, will come to take her away. She feels lonely around her aunt, who seems critical of her and her mother. When a spiteful classmate announces that Mary Brooke's mother had an abortion and died as punishment for killing her baby, Mary Brooke locks herself in the tower room. After spending a cold night, she emerges and reconciles with Aunt Olive, who has magically changed from stern and proper to kind and caring. In spite of some mature themes, the characterization and writing style are for preadolescent readers. An air of mystery is introduced with the secret room and the absentee father. However, readers will be disappointed when those things turn out to be inconsequential and go no where. Even though everything is neatly resolved in the end, the overall effect is less than believeable, and ultimately unsatisfying.
Marilyn Long Graham, Lee County Library System, Fort Myers, FL
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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