Family Story

Alison Scott Skelton, Author
Alison Scott Skelton, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (388p) ISBN 978-0-312-11994-2
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-95832-9
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A well-paced, nicely symmetrical story helps offset the YA feel of this first novel. Even some obvious flaws somehow do not deter the reader, although unnatural dialogue, formulaic turns of plot and a Big Chill ensemble of characters lend an unfortunate predictability to the narrative. The Carlsons and the Levines grew up together on Long Island, linked by memories, shared secrets, unrequited loves and the enduring marriage of editor Annie Carlson to physician Martin Levine. Then one day Annie fleetingly glimpses her brother Eric panhandling in Manhattan, 13 years after he set off on a fruitless quest for his kidnapped daughter, Molly. The other siblings assemble to search for him: Joanna Carlson, single-mother cafe waitress in Colorado; Seth Levine, an unmarried Riviera-based travel writer; and Sara Levine, a ballet teacher who tends her aging parents. Skelton tests credibility by allowing Eric to be found easily in teeming New York, but she maintains interest as Eric puts his guilt to rest; meanwhile, the others resolve long-submerged loves and conflicts. With 1960s echoes of Vietnam and Eastern spirituality providing background detail, the baby boomers cope here with aging parents and difficult offspring--then gather for a rollicking game of Monopoly. (May)
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