STRAWBERRY HILL by A. LaFaye

STRAWBERRY HILL

Age Range: 11 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two mercurial characters, one 12, the other 88, square off to form a contentious friendship in this multistranded tale from LaFaye (Edith Shay, 1998). Raleia Pendle longs for the imagined simplicity and structure of the olden days, and wouldn’t mind conventional parents either: she has six-foot, seven-inch Max and Tiny, two feet shorter and very pregnant, ex-hippies with a parenting style that’s entirely too loose, as far as she’s concerned. Soon after moving into a summer cottage in Tidal, Maine, named for the great wave that swept over it six decades ago, Raleia meets Ian Rutherford, a total recluse since the death of his wife in the catastrophe. For tart tongues and hot tempers, they’re a perfect match, but Ian’s so much like a living time capsule that Raleia keeps coming back, to probe into his past and dream of days gone by. Despite occasional fits of wisdom, the adults in the story—especially Tiny, who lost her previous baby and is emotionally adrift—are at least as subject to whims and tantrums as the children; consequently, the plot is replete with tears and laughter. Picking up the nuances of character here will require a close, sensitive reading, and some may feel whip-sawed by the many subplots and sudden rages; still, the ability of Raleia and Ian to laugh at themselves keeps them from being complete termagants, and the Pendles in action are a constant delight. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-689-82441-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1999