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Dirty Laundry: Stories About Family Secrets Hardcover – June 1, 1998

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What family doesn't have secrets? The Dirty Laundry collection, edited by Lisa Rowe Fraustino (author of Ash), explores this universal fact of life via 11 original short stories penned by acclaimed young adult writers. Graham Salisbury shines with "Something Like ... Love," his story about a Hawaiian boy who befriends a Caribbean man of mystery and in the process learns a little about what matters in life. In "Popeye the Sailor," Chris Crutcher uses the cycle of child abuse to reveal that secrets tend to rear their hideous heads--no matter how firmly they are pushed aside. M.E. Kerr artfully explores the haunting of a teenage girl by her dead adoptive brother in "I Will Not Think of Maine," and in "Passport," Laurie Halse Anderson takes an amusing look at a young person torn between divorced parents and struggling to create a reality all his own. Diverse as they are, the stories share the quality of compelling, solid writing, as well as the message that no matter how normal or perfect a family appears, secrets are sure to lurk just beneath the surface. --Brangien Davis

From Publishers Weekly

Fraustino's (Grass and Sky; Ash) provocative title and subject matter are enough to reel readers into this eclectic collection of original stories. Here 11 popular YA authors portray young people discovering, hiding, exposing or coping with disturbing truths. For example, in Fraustino's own contribution, "FRESh PAINt," a high school senior stumbles onto the hidden history of her great-grandmother while befriending an elderly patient at a local mental institution. Randy, the hero of Bruce Coville's "The Secret of Life, According to Aunt Gladys," learns about a closely guarded family secret when his never-before-mentioned Uncle George, a transvestite undergoing sex-change surgery, arrives for an extended visit. Other entries convey the burden of carrying a secret. Harboring guilt for abusing his little brother and his infant daughter, the protagonist of Chris Crutcher's "Popeye the Sailor," mistakenly thinks he can bury the past by devoting his future to aiding victimized children. Not all stories are realistic: both Richard Peck and M.E. Kerr serve up flavorful ghost stories. Offering both escapism and insight into the long-range effects of deception, these stories will satisfy a wide range of tastes. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; First Edition edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670879118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670879113
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,381,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Konieczny on July 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't overly impressed with this collection of short stories. The first story "The Secret Life, According to Aunt Gladys" by Bruce Coville started the book off in a great place (although the book sleeve ruined an early shock) especially with its haunting last line. Then the stories of Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Dian Curtis Regan, Anna Grossnickle Hines, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Richard Peck all suffered from predictability and a been-there-read-that mentality. The stories were okay, and some even better than that, but reading one after the other was just too much.
The next story, although entertaining, was too science fiction for me. Yes, "I Will Not Think of Maine" by M.E. Kerr dealt with a family secret, but you have to beleive in the supernatural to fully except the story. Currently, I'm reading for reality. I'm looking for stories that can be used to help some of the kids that I'm working for. This story is not one of them.
Then came a diamond in the rough. "FRESh PAINt" by Lisa Rowe Fraustino (the editor) was a awesome and moving story. I can't beleive that none of the other reviewers to this date (July 14, 2001) have mentioned it. This short story was one of the longest in the book (and I hate LONG SHORT stories) but I flew through it. "FRESh PAINt" has a strong mystery, a strong family secrets, and a painful moment that brought me to tears. Anyone who has read the story knows what I am talking about.
The rest of the stories also were pretty good and seem to be favorites of other reviewers. "Passport" bt Laurie Halse Anderson has a creative and sharp-tongued style that made it a joy to read. "Something Like...
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Format: Hardcover
As a grad school student who had to read a book on controversy in literature for class, I stumbled across this book in the library and was more than pleasantly surprised. The stories are sometimes touching, sometimes humorous and very different from one another. I think this book helps people understand that no family is truly "normal". I especially liked "Rice Pudding Days", "Passport" and "Popeye the Sailor"
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By A Customer on October 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I read the entire anthology. "Passport" and "Something Like . . . Love" were good stories. Not great, but good. Every other story in the anthology, though, was awful. Some would have been disappointing from a middle schooler; in the cases of authors whose other stories or novels I had read, I found those in this anthology poor examples of their writing; in the cases of authors whose other work I had not read, this book was no motivation. Also: you at Amazon have listed the book's reading level as "Ages 9 to 12." Are you sure you don't mean "Grades 9 to 12"?
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Format: Hardcover
This book is put into lots and lots of short stories. I love many of the authors that contributed stories. Some of the stories were very good, such as:
"The Secret of Life, According to Aunt Gladys" by Bruce Coville
"Waiting for Sebastian" by Richard Peck
"Passport" by Laurie Halse Anderson
These were the ones I would have liked for them to be real books. But not an amazing book in a whole. If you're into the whole family traditions, family secrets thing, then I might recommend it. And also if you'd just read the good stories (above), then go for this book, but this one isn't a winner.
~Atalanta
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