RUBBER HOUSES by Ellen Yeomans


Age Range: 14 & up
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Continuing her thematic preoccupation with death, Yeomans creates a free-verse diary for 17-year-old Kit’s year-long period of grief, guilt and ultimate coping strategy following the loss of her nine-year-old brother Buddy to cancer. Juxtaposed with baseball terminology, Buddy’s first love and obsession, the poems are divided into five sections imitating the year-long cycle of the sport: “Warm-Ups, ‘Regular’ Season, Postseason, Hot Stove, Spring Training.” Sad, often depressing and achingly difficult to read with sustained interest, Buddy’s illness and death are described in the first two sections followed by Kit’s long, drawn-out feelings of despair, anger and general lack of concern for her own future without her little brother. Finally, as with the promise of each new “Spring Training,” Kit finds refuge and recovery working as a clerk in the local hardware store, renews neglected friendships and resolves at least to begin her higher education at the local community college. Perhaps a little too cathartic and personal, Yeomans’s symbolic use of the happy American pastime is discordant with the somber and grave issue of premature death. Dismal reading. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-316-10647-X
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2006


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by Dean Gloster