The Cuckoo's Child

Suzanne Freeman, Author Greenwillow Books $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-688-14290-2
First-time novelist Freeman conveys the essence of estrangement in a unique coming-of-age story, at once profound and darkly humorous. The youngest member of a studiedly individualist American family living in Beirut during the early '60s, Mia longs to be a ""normal"" American girl, but her chance to make this dream come true arrives via tragedy. Only after her parents are lost at sea and her ""beatnik"" older half-sisters are sent off for a lengthy visit with their real father does Mia find herself being reshaped as an ""ordinary kid"" by her Aunt Kit in Ionia, Tenn. Although Mia quickly learns how to blend in with the popular girls at the local Vacation Bible School, she continues to be haunted by her memories. It takes much soul-searching for her to realize that the things that made her different are the same things that made her truly happy. A number of the minor characters are somewhat stereotyped, but Mia's psyche is painstakingly developed and she emerges as a highly complex character, very much an original. Readers will become absorbed in Mia's battle to overcome grief and guilt, and will identify with the growing pains she suffers and the social blunders she commits. Sure to make a lasting impression. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-7881-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-12666-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-7882-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 249 pages - 978-0-7868-1243-1
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-04787-6
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