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Soul Daddy Hardcover – April, 1992
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9-- Hannah and Rosie, 15-year-old twins who live in suburban London, have never met their black reggae-star father, Joe Delaney. He appears to declare his love for their white mother, Isabel, and establishes a relationship with the girls. His beautiful, poised, and bright daughter from his second marriage, Nicola, joins the family. Self-centered and resentful, Hannah cannot accept the changes in her life. Rosie, who is artistic, intuitive, and emotionally immature, is more forgiving; wise and worldly Nicola is caught in the middle. Hannah's inner dialogue is focused on her search for individual identity; her world is a cultural mix of black and white, working class values and wealth, yuppie suburbia and the urban music scene. Unwilling to try to make the arrangement work, Hannah runs away, but finds no easy solutions. The British perspective is a contrast for readers in the states, but Roy avoids vocabulary pitfalls. She touches lightly on issues of sibling relations, parental interactions, interracial marriage, runaways, and mental and emotional handicaps, but deals with none in depth. Characterization is consistent although only the girls are developed to any extent. Family life, with all of its confusing twists and turns, may keep some readers turning pages, but Roy's first novel will be a hard sell to most teens. --Gail Richmond, Point Loma High School, San Diego
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Identical twins Hannah and Rosie, 15, are products of their white mother Isabel's long-ago marriage to a black musician, Joe Delaney. Now Joe returns to their fairly orderly London fold with their beautiful half-sister Nicola and a wish to make his ``nest'' whole once again. Hannah, already shackled with the blessing and curse of Rosie's dependence on her, resists change, fearing that Joe's promises are meant to be broken. But while Rosie makes surprising adjustments of her own, Hannah comes to trust the new shape of her family, including an extended list of relatives who've got much to teach her about her heritage. First-novelist Roy has a gift for making common situations uncommon with some unique twists: a previous illness that made Rosie ``slow'' complicates the twin issue; Joe's stardom makes Hannah's groping acceptance of him particularly bittersweet; Nicola, whose own deceased mother was black, provides an intriguingly aware (albeit younger, and a bit too good to be true) role model as Hannah begins to explore issues of race. There are several parallels here, in both theme and plot, with Pullman's novel (above); Pullman weaves a far tighter and more compelling story, yet Roy's book is full of grace, delicately unfolding expectations, and a deep affection for the family that inhabits it. (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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