The Reason for Janey

Nancy Hope Wilson, Author
Nancy Hope Wilson, Author Macmillan $15 (160p) ISBN 978-0-02-793127-3
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-380-72257-0
Prebound-Sewn - 160 pages - 978-0-606-08062-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-14135-2
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Philura Higley Mason, a budding scientist in the sixth grade, likes to be able to trace effects to causes. The logic of her family life, however, is becoming increasingly murky. Philly wonders why her mother has invited Janey, a mentally retarded adult, to move in with them. She wonders why she feels so uncomfortable around her father, who left the family three years ago, as well as why she itches from hives so frequently. Since her mother is ``just not big on reasons,'' Philly faces some of these adult questions on her own, finding that emotional relationships (and physical conditions) don't always have simple or single explanations. The otherwise credible story of an intelligent girl's growing awareness of the complexities of the adult world is compromised by Wilson's ( Bringing Nettie Back ) eventual, contrived introduction of a Real Reason for Janey's presence in the home. And though she tackles a sensitive subject, Wilson could more fully explore the ambiguities in Philly's feelings toward Janey. Nontheless, her work effectively depicts unique characters as well as preadolescent confusion. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
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