MARY WOLF by Cynthia D. Grant


Age Range: 12 & up
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 ``It's easy for my mother to shoplift now that she's pregnant,'' reports Mary Wolf in the very first line of this astonishing novel, hooking readers decisively into her story. Mary, 16, feels like the only adult in her family. After her father loses his job in the insurance business, he's too humiliated to attempt to work his way up through the ranks again. Instead, he secretly sells the house and takes his large family on an extended ``vacation'' in their gas-guzzling RV, camping among other homeless, and driving from town to town without any plan. After two years of this, Mary is the only one still worrying about their plans for the future. While her mother grows increasingly childlike, her father becomes more irrational, until the night when Mary shoots him dead, an act of self-defense and, ultimately, salvation. Grant (Uncle Vampire, 1993, etc.) choreographs the family's tragedy with almost balletic pacing. Mary's clear-eyed observations about her family's downward spiral are riveting; she is a wholly believable character, whose attempts to roust her family from disintegration are poignant and realistic. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-689-80007-X
Page count: 166pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1995


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