THE PLACING by Angela Dracup


Age Range: 11 - 15
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 In a fit of jealous rage, ten-year-old Jonny stabs his mother's newest boyfriend; as a result, he spends the next five years in foster care. As he shuttles between group homes and a pair of well-meaning but inflexible foster parents, Jonny's fiercely simple devotion to his mother is his only anchor--but even that begins to weaken when he comes to realize, on her increasingly infrequent visits, how chronically irresponsible she is. Jonny describes his feelings of futility and rootlessness with great clarity. His perspective is plainly that of an adult- -his experiences with peers and school remain mostly in the background, while the personalities of his mother, other grown- ups, and the string of social workers who keep tabs on him are distinct and often complex. Jonny finds a stable home at last with Lotte, a wise, experienced foster mother who has enough insight to treat him like a person rather than as a Problem. Dracup puts the British social-welfare system in a respectful light here; aside from a few instances of rough language, her characters are gentle and good-hearted. (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-575-04890-5
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Gollancz/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1991