From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10-A compelling novel set in 1950s Seattle. Twelve-year-old Sarah and her older sister, Carlie, know that their lives are different from those of their peers. When at home, unless summoned by their mother, they are supposed to stay in their attic bedroom. Common activities such as eating or using the bathroom are forbidden without her approval. Noise of any kind is frowned upon because that might disturb their mother and one never knows what will happen when she is unhappy. Everything comes to a head when Carlie is caught and beaten for trying on one of her mother's dresses. Running away from home is her solution, but Sarah becomes bold enough to tell their workaholic father the dark secret about their mother. McCord has written a taut, powerful story about family dynamics when one parent is suffering from a mental illness and the other fails to recognize the problem. The bond between the sisters grows and is strengthened through adversity. Though there is no pat resolution, the book has a strong message of hope, love, and forgiveness.Sharon Morrison, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 7-10. Twelve-year-old Sarah and 15-year-old Carlie live in quiet terror of their unpredictable mother, who feeds them or allows them to bathe or watch TV only as her mood dictates. It isn't until their mother gets a job, and housekeeper Josephine comes to take care of them, that the girls begin to understand both what a normal life is and how dysfunctional theirs has become. McCord has painted a bleak yet often hopeful picture of a family coping with mental illness. Set in the 1950s, when mental illness was misunderstood and less acknowledged, McCord's novel celebrates the courage and resourcefulness of two teens. The girls find creative ways to maintain their own sanity, and eventually they muster the courage to force outside intervention and shed light on their mother's condition. Also illuminating are the views of women's lives in the 1950s--the expectations, routines, and dullness--at a time when the debate about working mothers was just beginning. A poignant, enlightening read. Frances BradburnCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved