Mandy's father dies suddenly; she has to come to grips with his death; and she does--thanks to the salubrious mental and...

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THE KENTON YEAR

Mandy's father dies suddenly; she has to come to grips with his death; and she does--thanks to the salubrious mental and material clime of a small Vermont town. It's comfortably readable, with vicarious pleasures for city and suburban youngsters with a yen for a real home-place, but the steps in Mandy's adjustment are signposted (from an adult point of view, besides) and the story comes to a terminus more than once. Disturbed by Mandy's anxious, unexpressed desolation, her newspaper-editor mother Anne rents a cottage in Kenton, Vt., and the two settle in, plant a garden, and strike up local friendships--Mandy with a usually-uncommunicative recluse and an outspoken girl her age (about ten), her mother with news-paper-editor Martin, both with a good-hearted storekeeping couple. The wholesome life is dotted with a few hijinks, notably a joke on the town's unctuous busybody, dreamed up by Mandy; and quite obviously it doesn't hurt her to think of her father ""the way it had."" But for her mother's (and the author's purposes), she also has to be helped over specific obstacles. Her father had always taken her to carnivals, which Anne didn't care for; so when Mandy expresses a desire to go to one, Anne, deciding it's ""a healthy sign, probably, that should be encouraged,"" arranges for her to go with Martin. Come summer's end, both are predictably loathe to leave, so Anne also arranges--in a day--to work with Martin, to winterize the house, and to purchase it. Given Mandy's promising prognosis, that could be the end of the story; but we go on into the new, two-room school year, Mandy's fervor for skiing (""a way of fighting with. . . her father's death,"" decide Anne and Martin), a tentative romance between the two (tentative only to them; inescapable to anyone else), and Mandy's cathartic observation of the anniversary of her father's death--via a ceremony naming the adjacent hillside after him. Though Mandy's supposed to be a strong individual, she has absolutely no personality on paper; but the book holds up more or less anyhow, through sheer goodwill.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1980