Bauer writes of adolescent madness with an excruciating sensitivity that sometimes slips over into romanticization. Michelle...

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TANGLED BUTTERFLY

Bauer writes of adolescent madness with an excruciating sensitivity that sometimes slips over into romanticization. Michelle (""Me Shell"") is a disturbed 17-year-old whose mother can neither love her nor let her grow up. Marooned in cannibalistic daydreams, she responds only to a malicious inner voice which calls itself her grandmother (""Grand Mother""). Her rescuer is Paul Du Bois, a former teacher with a history of helping sick teenagers, who lives on an island in Lake Superior with his wife Rose and their infant daughter Beedaubun. When Michelle is temporarily left in his care, Paul tries to draw her out with stories and legends learned from his Anishinabe (Ojibway) grandfather. The ""vision quest"" he encourages Michelle to take, however, turns out to be horrifyingly different from what he had in mind: Michelle kidnaps Beedaubun and escapes into the Lake Superior mists in Paul's motor boat. The denouement is appropriately frightening, the ending no more than an upbeat clichÉ about ""leaving the cocoon."" Bauer's characterization is uneven (Paul and Rose are drawn in loving detail, while Michelle's parents are merely caricatures); she doesn't mind trafficking in melodramatic extremes. Despite this, she's written an exceptionally well-crafted novel with more suspense than you'll find in many a straightforward action story.

Pub Date: April 1, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1980