Somewhere Between Life and Death

Lurlene McDaniel, Author
Lurlene McDaniel, Author Laurel Leaf Library $5.5 (160p) ISBN 978-0-553-28349-5
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
This pair of novels is intended to be a compassionate, helpful portrait of a family coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. But because the family depicted is so bland, and the course of their grief so tritely charted, the end result resembles the case histories found in mawkish self-help books. Perfectionist Erin is often infuriated by her easygoing younger sister Amy. But when a near-fatal car accident leaves Amy comatose, the distraught Erin is unable to face the idea of turning off her sister's life-support system and donating her organs to science. Only after lashing out at everyone who does not seem properly grief-stricken is Erin finally able to accept her sister's death. But the saccharine saga does not end here: the second volume picks up the thread of the story a year after Amy's death. Though Erin has done her best to return to a normal life, she is plagued by debilitating headaches--the product of unresolved mourning and newly arisen family tensions. A cliche-spouting family therapist and a goofy would-be boyfriend lead Erin through numerous predictable confrontations with her feelings. These forgettable, lightweight novels have no place among the many wonderful books that offer young readers an authentic vision of what it means to love and lose. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)
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