Extraordinary Means

Donna Levin, Author
Donna Levin, Author Arbor House Publishing $17.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-87795-857-4
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
The extraordinary premise of this tale of coming of age in California is that 24-year-old Melissa Silverstein, comatose since she combined Percodan with vodka, has a sound mind that can depart her vegetable body at will. That's how she learns that her mother, an elegant, baby-talking woman who calls herself Mickey Mouse, is sleeping with the neurology resident. That's how she can be present in the courtroom to hear Mickey Mouse tearfully plead that the court allow the plug to be pulled. Out-of-body is how Melissa knows when her brother Daniel, always desperate to please Mickey Mouse, sneaks under her bed in the hospital to do what the court has judged against. Sometimes Melissa can get into other people's bodies too. That's how her youngest sister finds herself making love in the rumpus room with the middle sister's boyfriend. There are accurate and touching moments in Melissa's after-the-fact observations of her family, particularly regarding the teenaged sisters, but as a literary device, airborne eavesdropping served Scrooge better. In the end Melissa achieves a strangely joyful reconciliation to Mouse's odd way of mothering: proof enough the patient's mind has gone the way of her flesh. (July 30)
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