I Am an Artichoke

Lucy Frank, Author Holiday House $14.95 (187p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1150-4
Despite the serious subject matter-anorexia and dysfunctional families-this accomplished first novel sparkles with deliciously wry humor. Narrator Sarah, 15, thinks that a summer job in New York City as a mother's helper is just the ticket to get her away from her ``terminally bland'' suburban family. Her fantasy is to work for an ideal family (composed of ``a basic father, a mother who was like your basic mother only nicer, and two cute basic little kids''). Instead she winds up with the redoubtable Mrs. Friedman and her wraithlike 12-year-old daughter, Emily, who barely eats and spends every spare moment pedaling furiously on an exercise bike. To her dismay, Sarah soon learns that she is a pawn in the power struggle between Emily's parents and that her real job is to get the anorexic girl to eat. Although Sarah doesn't effect a cure, by taking charge at a crucial moment she points the Friedmans in the right direction and-just as important-sees herself and her own parents in a new light. In a slangy, deadpan narrative spiced with astute observations of characters and scenery, Frank brings a fresh, funny and vibrant new voice to YA literature. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Prebound-Other - 187 pages - 978-0-606-11490-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 187 pages - 978-0-440-21990-3
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