UNCLE VAMPIRE by Cynthia D. Grant


Age Range: 12 & up
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 At the end of this compelling depiction of the trauma of sexual abuse, Carolyn, 16, summons the courage to tell someone what her uncle Toddy has done for as long as she can remember. She's lucky: school counselor Ms. Johnson is gentle and persistent in making an opportunity for the bright, popular 16- year-old to explain why she's so troubled; and when Carolyn, paralyzed by the conviction that no one will believe her and that there will be terrible consequences, is still unable to speak, Ms. Johnson helps her confide in writing. Carolyn's home is one where such a secret thrives. Her chronically depressed mother was once institutionalized, a fate Toddy suggests awaits Carolyn if she tells; Dad doesn't want to hear about anyone's troubles; an older sister has escaped to college; her brother, who guesses, sees no way out. Toddy is indulged and excused when he can't keep a job, and has made himself essential in his brother's home (where he lives) by doing tasks Mom has abdicated. Grant discloses Carolyn's defenses against her uncle's late-night invasions through a heartbreakingly lyrical first-person: Carolyn tries to dilute the horror by creating a docile imaginary twin who takes on some of her conflicting feelings, and with other fantasies (Toddy as a vampire is less painful than reality), denial, and dreams. A note encourages teens who suffer abuse to get help and tells where to go, including the National Child Abuse Hot line number. Intense, beautifully written, important. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-689-31852-9
Page count: 154pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993


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