Her Own Song

Ellen Howard, Author Atheneum Books $14.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-689-31444-5
Based on a true incident, Howard's latest novel again deals with the intertwining of family relationships and a child's sense of belongingor not, as the case may be. Mellie, who lives with a childless couple in turn-of-the-century Oregon, is friendless and lonely, teased by her classmates for being adopted. Because her adopted mother is dead, Mellie is raised by her father, Bill, a stern and undemonstrative man, and by her aunt. But Mellie has a recurring dream of another place, and feels a strange kinship for the Chinese laundryman everyone else despises. It is only whenthrough the laundrymanMellie discovers the truth behind her dreams that she also gains a new sense of self-worth. Although it has a warm and sensitive ending, the book has some stylistic problems, such as an overuse of flashbacks. But it also offers an unusual glimpse into lifestyles and historical incidents not often addressed in children's books, and for that it must be valued. A Jean Karl Book. Ages 12-up. (October)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Genre: Children's
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