cover image A Kindness

A Kindness

Cynthia Rylant. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05767-4

Chip, 15, has always lived alone with his mother; he doesn't know his father, who left when Chip was a baby. His mother, Anne, an artist, is rather vague about practical matters, and Chip is responsible for handling the finances and running their everyday affairs. But the closeness between them is destroyed when his mother becomes pregnant. Chip is not only angry with his mother for letting this happen, he is also furious that he can't make her do he wants, which is for her to have an abortion. He is forced to deal with that, and with his own possessiveness. Rylant ( A Fine White Dust , Every Living Thing ) has handled an emotionally demanding and sensitive subject with flawless control. The reader, while sympathizing with Chip's fury and hurt, firmly sides with Anne. A powerful novel with not one discordant emotion or superfluous word. A Richard Jackson Book. Ages 12-up. (September)