cover image Emily Good as Gold

Emily Good as Gold

Susan Goldman Rubin. Harcourt Children's Books, $10.95 (180pp) ISBN 978-0-15-276632-0

Thirteen years old and ``developmentally disabled,'' Emily Gold longs to be like other teenagers, but she knows she's ``special''--a euphemism she's grown to hate. Realizing that she's maturing (she's proud to be menstruating), Emily resents her parents' protectiveness, especially her father's insistence on regarding her as a little girl. She adores her brother, a lawyer, but feels betrayed by his unexpected marriage. Yet her sister-in-law, Phyllis, eventually charms Emily with her warmth and generosity, and becomes a valuable friend. It's Phyllis who clarifies Emily's notions about sex and reproduction, teaching her about ``nice boys and not so nice boys,'' a crucial lesson for the pretty and eager-to-please girl. Rubin paints her character with contrasting colors: she's naive yet perceptive (she always knows when people are discussing her and what they are likely to be saying), sweet but sometimes temperamental, obedient but occasionally deceptive. Emphasizing what her heroine has in common with the audience while not glossing over her differences, the author provides a meaningful, hopeful glimpse into a rarely visited world. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)