THE SHELL LADY'S DAUGHTER by C. S. Adler

THE SHELL LADY'S DAUGHTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When Kelly Allgood's sunny, enthusiastic mother has a mental breakdown, 14-year-old Kelly is peremptorily deposited by her business-pilot father with his rich, aloof parents in Palm Beach: in current juvenile fiction, practically a clichÉ. The protagonists are not usually so strong-spoken, however, nor so well matched. Kelly had been a little worried by her mother's vacant, recessive moods--but she didn't want the burden of being her mother's ""best friend"" any longer. She does strongly protest not being able to see her mother before she goes, and she fiercely defends her mother against her domineering grandmother's caustic, disparaging comments. ""I may look like my father,"" she insists also, ""but inside I'm more like my mother."" Actually, it's Kelly's share of Allgood iron will that brings the book to a four-square windup. Kelly learns that her mother tried suicide, and discovers (by making a forbidden call) that she's seriously depressed. She hears (from ""dynamic,"" crippled lawyer Evan) that ""love and support"" are what her mother needs most--and fears she let her mother down. But she also learns about the feelings of unworthiness her mother had to overcome from childhood, relieving her (and her father) of guilt. And she sees in her grandmother's stubborn refusal to leave her senile husband an instance of ""love and support"" that she emulates, when her mother is released, by refusing to go away to boarding school. Her grandmother, whom she still has mixed feelings about, confirms that she's ""strong enough"" (and the acquiescing psychologist, as if guessing her former thoughts, reminds her: ""You're her daughter, not her friend""). There's wisdom in the handling of Kelly's mother's condition, and plenty of backbone in the story.

Pub Date: April 8th, 1983
ISBN: 0595339123
Publisher: Coward, McCann