KELLY AND ME by Carol Lynch Williams

KELLY AND ME

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Leah, 11, recounts a summer of outrageous escapades with her sister/best friend Kelly, 10, and ``Papa,'' their recently widowed grandfather. From the first scene, when Papa escapes from a locked bedroom (Leah's parents were desperate to keep him sober) by climbing down knotted designer sheets, Williams's broadly comic tone is deepened with a tough reality. Papa vaguely meanders his car into a minor accident en route to the nearby Florida beach; when he's arrested and flees the scene, it's Leah who drives the car (as he's taught her) and overtakes him. The girls conceal his dog's death to protect him, but Papa's distress at its absence comes to an absurd end when he learns they've buried it by the family well. And Papa's childishly overzealous teasing--he's pretending, all too realistically, to be a werewolf--is nearly recast in horror when a young cousin finds a loaded gun. As it can in real life, a tragedy in the last pages comes as a total shock. With subtler character development, an experienced writer might have made a closer link between the response to this death and what precedes it (cf. Sarah Ellis's A Family Project, 1986, or Peter Hartling's Old John, 1990); still, though the mood change is jolting, Williams deals believably with the bereaved family's healing. A capable first novel that views both boisterous comedy and wrenching loss with a perceptive eye. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-30897-3
Page count: 124pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1993




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