The Surprise Party

Marilyn Sachs, Author Dutton Books $15.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-525-45962-0
At 11, smart, popular Genevieve Bishop aims to please, unlike her third-grade brother, Ernest, who is always getting into trouble at school and at home. Inevitably, Ernest becomes the center of attention, and even though her parents tell her she's wonderful, Gen has begun to find it burdensome to always be such a ""darling."" When she overhears her classmate Karen Knipper calling her a ""goody-goody"" and saying that she ""doesn't have an original idea in her head,"" she decides to hatch a brainstorm of her own. Tapping all her friends, neighbors and relatives, she plans a surprise 25th-anniversary party for her parents. As might be expected, arrangements for a perfect evening are jeopardized by Ernest. He invites the estranged Grandmother Perl, even though, for reasons no one will explain, Mrs. Bishop has refused all contact with her since her marriage. Both Gen and Ernest are complex and dynamic, and Sachs (What My Sister Remembered) explores their rivalry with subtlety and sympathy for both. The liveliness of the characterizations, however, is somewhat compromised, first, by heavy reliance on dialogue (much of which repeats earlier exposition and little of which enhances the author's portraiture) and, second, by the almost magical effects of the party. Not only do Mrs. Bishop and Grandma Perl mend their fences, but Gen and Karen become friends, the Bishops' business picks up as Gen involves her classmates' parents in her party preparations, two teachers strike up a romance, etc. But while this is not one of Sachs's best efforts, it might be just what the doctor ordered for older sisters of rambunctious little boys. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1998
Release date: 04/01/1998
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.