DEAR NOBODY by Berlie Doherty


Age Range: 11 & up
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 It was only once, but she's pregnant and their plans for college are threatened. Doherty's genius, in her second Carnegie winner, is to go beyond the familiar, beyond earnest explanation, to the unique blend of heritage, character, and circumstance that shape Helen's and Chris's responses to their classic dilemma. There are no villians here, and no one--once their story is revealed--is to blame: not Helen's tense, loveless mother, scarred by being born out of wedlock in a judgmental age; not Chris's, whose motives for abandoning her family are less selfish than they've seemed. Chris, whose retrospective narrative begins the story, stands by Helen, though he's torn between his real love and his hopes for a degree in English. Helen's choices, described in interpolated letters to her unborn child (see title) are tougher: Dragged by her mother to an abortion clinic, she simply walks out; forbidden to see Chris, and realizing he isn't ready for marriage, she courageously breaks with him so that he will go to college--as she too eventually hopes to do. In Doherty's splendid White Peak Farm (1990), the stories of several family members fuse to become one; here, what begins as a portrait of a single relationship extends, finally, to a dozen compassionately realized individuals. In both, the theme is universal: troubles between loved ones arise, not from a lack of good will, but from stress and misunderstanding. More accessible to young Americans than Doherty's earlier books; wise, lyrical, and graced with rare insight and intelligence; not to be missed. (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-531-05461-6
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1992


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