SHARING SUSAN by Eve Bunting

SHARING SUSAN

Age Range: 10 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bunting explores what happens after two couples learn that their daughters were switched as babies in the hospital. Susan, 12, only child of a librarian and an art professor at Santa Cruz, is horrified when her parents tell her about the mix-up, discovered because Marlene Stobbel, recently dead in an accident, had the wrong blood type for a child of her supposed parents. Hoping to avoid publicity and do the best for Susan, the four parents, with their lawyers, draw up an agreement: after an introductory weekend with everyone there, Susan will alternate between the two couples, with the coming school year to be spent with the Stobbels. Rebelliously, Susan goes with her parents to Los Angeles, where the Stobbels run a swimming-pool business and live in a crowded suburb. Though her feelings remain mixed, she begins to accept her new role within a couple of days--her four-year-old brother is sweet; there's a nice boy next door; and she comes to share her mother's empathy for Mrs. Stobbel. Bunting's perceptively drawn characters and their initial conscientious but loving reactions to the situation are poignant and credible. But her story's development is less plausible: surely the wise, kind parents she depicts so skillfully would consult a 12-year-old concerning her own fate; surely taking her from the only parents she knows for a majority of the time, without her consent, is not in her best interests; and surely any transition would be more painful, and take longer, than is suggested here. A gripping but flawed story, then, to provoke vigorous discussion. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-021693-X
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1991




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