My Father, the Nutcase

Judith Caseley, Author
Judith Caseley, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $15 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-83394-9
Hardcover - 185 pages - 978-0-679-93394-6
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In the words of 15-year-old Zoe Cohen, her father's accident (he drove his car into a tree) marked ``the ominous beginning.'' Things slip from bad to worse: severely depressed, Mr. Cohen quits his job, stays in bed most of the day and grows more and more detached from Zoe, her mother and two sisters. Through Zoe's perceptive and realistic first-person narrative, Caseley ( Kisses ) reveals the devastating toll that such an illness can take on a family--and especially on an unusually thoughtful, sensitive girl. While harboring a great deal of anger towards her father, Zoe manages to survive several key teenage rites of passage, including first and last dates with a couple of boys who have only one thing on their minds. Since Caseley's descriptions of these escapades are fairly candid and graphic, it is advisable that the book's suggested age guidelines be observed. In the story's promising, emotionally-charged conclusion, Zoe's father--and the entire family--are showing sure signs of healing. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
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