cover image Effie's House

Effie's House

Morse Hamilton. Greenwillow Books, $13.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09307-5

During the first three quarters of this novel, readers may feel that the narrator's thoughts resemble the jumbled pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Those who venture to connect the fragments of memories, visions and fantasies will eventually discover startling truths about Bizzy, a 15-year-old runaway. Accompanied by the ghostlike presence of her father, killed in Vietnam, the girl journeys to her birthplace in order to sort out her past and confront her present conflicts. It is here, in a small Michigan town, that Bizzy comes to terms with her father's death, confesses her infatuation with her mother's most recent husband and acknowledges the existence of her unborn child. The subject matter and unique structure of this book assume a high level of reader sophistication. While Hamilton's imagery and narrative are skillfully wrought, some may object to his bald treatment of sex and may question his prudence in correlating romantic love with a man's seduction of his stepchild. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)