cover image Dear Nobody

Dear Nobody

Berlie Doherty. Orchard Books (NY), $16.95 (185pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05461-1

Winner of England's Carnegie Medal, this complex and often unwieldy novel explores the consequences of a teenager's pregnancy-and the resultant tensions with her boyfriend. Brilliant, ambitious and university bound, Helen first attempts to induce a miscarriage and then, in a complete about-face, resolves to go through with her pregnancy and raise her child. Both characters are foreed to sort out their priorities, as the full meaning of Helen's condition dawns on them. Of course, their predicament affects not only themselves, but their families as well: as the months go by, Helen learns the real reasons for her mother's bitter anger towards the unborn child. Meanwhile, as Chris grapples with his new status as a future parent, he must also create a new relationship with his mother, who left the family years ago. Though certainly ambitious, Doherty's latest work lacks the pungent force of her White Peak Farm and Granny Was a Buffer Girl. The reader's patience will be especially tried by the book's middle section, a lengthy account of the ups and downs of Chris and Helen's post-pregnancy relationship. Still, those who persevere will be rewarded by a conclusion in which various loose ends are tied up in a surprisingly moving fashion. Ages 11-up.(Sept.)