RAINY SEASON by Adele Griffin


Age Range: 11 - 13
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 Set against a vivid picture of life in the Panama Canal Zone during the Carter Administration, this tale of a deceptively healthy military family trying to deny past tragedy has a theatrical flavor. In a 24-hour period in 1977, Lane, who is 12, and her younger brother, Charlie, join the rest of the neighborhood kids to hang out, build a fort, then row out to a low tower set in a nearby lock of the Canal. Their joking, bickering, and horseplay seem perfectly normal, but there's an underlying tension, fueled by a mystery revealed in tossed-off hints and clues and in an album of oddly cropped family photos, Charlie's bursts of unreasoning aggression, and Lane's chronic, near-hysterical anxiety. As their parents party obliviously, Charlie sneaks out and subsequently breaks his leg falling out of a tree. During their night together in a Panamanian hospital, Lane unburdens herself at last: She and Charlie had an older sister who was killed in an automobile accident, and their parents have cut her out of every photo and forbidden any mention of her name. The unique character of Canal Zone society, with its hostile relationships between the Panamanians and both the military and the ``Zonians'' (descendants of North American settlers) is drawn with such feeling and clarity that the plot itself sometimes takes a backseat; despite this, the subtle dysfunction of Lane's family is effectively drawn. Griffin's first novel for young readers will leave them sober and thoughtful. (afterword) (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-81181-3
Page count: 199pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996


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