At 16, Mary Wolf seems to be the only adult in her family. Her father, once an insurance executive, lost his job long ago and with it, apparently, his backbone. For two years the Wolfs have been traveling in an RV as the increasingly volatile Mr. Wolf occasionally lands and quickly loses menial jobs, supplementing his income with petty thievery and clumsy scams. Crippled by pride, he tells lies that Mrs. Wolf is all too eager to believe and that Mary's little sisters are too young to see through. Only Mary challenges him, but she cannot prevent him from driving the family into certain catastrophe. As in her dramatic psychological thriller Uncle Vampire, Grant establishes the desperation of lives ruled by nightmare, drawing the threads of her narrative ever tighter so that only extraordinary force can alter her characters' destinies. The climax is violent but not exploitative-it delivers a strongly cathartic jolt as the author expertly releases the reader from her darkly absorbing story. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995 Release date: 10/01/1995 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.