Saying It Out Loud

Joan Abelove, Author DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) $15.95 (136p) ISBN 978-0-7894-2609-3
After leading readers on a captivating journey to the Amazon in Go and Come Back, Abelove sets her second novel closer to home. In a series of journal entries beginning November 4, 1961, and ending just over a month later, 16-year-old Mindy describes the process of losing her mother to brain cancer. Abelove lifts Mindy's feelings of isolation and grief to a metaphoric level in the novel, making it a story about leaving childhood behind. With eloquence and a touch of bittersweet irony, Abelove points out the inadequacy of words in times of great emotion. ""When I was little, I thought that people died when they used up all their words,"" Mindy begins. Finding no refuge in a home from which she now feels estranged, Mindy seeks out her longtime friend, Gail, and a new friend, Bobby. They offer no easy answers, but instead empathy, love, even laughter. As Mindy grieves the rift that had developed between her and her mother even before the diagnosis (""My phase, [Mom] called it. Being a teenager, Bobby calls it""), Abelove exposes the protagonist's anger and sadness with a myriad of seamlessly interwoven memories and observations. Perhaps most wrenching is the string of recurring rhetorical questions Mindy poses to her mother--questions that must go unanswered. Most adolescents regret things they say or do to their mothers; the difference for Mindy is that she never gets the chance to rectify them. A stirring, psychologically truthful novel. Ages 11-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
Paperback - 136 pages - 978-0-14-131227-9
Prebound-Other - 136 pages - 978-0-613-44252-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-21410-0
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