Bethie

Ann Rabinowitz, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $14.95 (226p) ISBN 978-0-02-775661-6
Beth admires her friend Grace's father, Ben, and his family's stability in contrast to that of Beth's. It's a bitter blow when Beth learns that Ben has left his wife and family for another woman. As Grace grows aloof and becomes close with Beth's brother, the girls' friendship is increasingly strained. Nevertheless, Beth is profoundly shocked when Grace commits suicide. In the aftermath, Beth gains a measure of appreciation for her own father and reaches out to Ben. Set in New York City during World War II, Rabinowitz's novel provides a rare look at the response of American Jews to the situation in Hitler's Europe. However, its structure and characterizations are flawed. Grace has little psychological dimension, and the reasons for her suicide--the novel's climactic event--remain formulaic. The issue of sexuality is handled unevenly, treated slightly (even quaintly) in some instances and baldly in others. This is a novel that never really found its feet. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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