BABY by Patricia MacLachlan

BABY

Age Range: 9 & up
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 In a spare novel with the resonance of myth, two troubled families are healed when their paths conjoin. Some years ago on a remote island resembling Nantucket, Larkin's parents are silently mourning the death of a baby they never named and never described to his sister. The day the summer people leave, they find year- old Sophie on their doorstep with a note: ``I will lose her forever if you don't do this, so pleese keep her. I will come back for her one day...'' Papa wants to tell the police, but- -after impassioned discussion--Mama dissuades him. Sophie stays until spring; and though Papa warns ``Don't love her,'' once they've cared for her, and shared her first words, the parting is hard indeed. Yet while Larkin fears this new bereavement-- especially for Mama--love (``That word with a life of its own...flying above all of us like the birds'') opens the door to sharing their grief about their own baby. Once Sophie is gone, their feelings find words--and also lead to the dead baby's being given a name. At the story's beginning, Larkin's parents have abandoned her emotionally (an intriguing contrast to Journey); but Sophie's subsequent memories of her sojourn--in lyrical vignettes plus a poignant last scene of her return visit ten years later--are not of separation but of love: faces, gestures, images. Some circumstances (not least Sophie's being left with strangers so that her mother can care for a desperately ill husband) border on fantasy, yet the almost surreal events convey emotional truths with a power that surpasses literal realism. A searching, beautifully written story. (Fiction. 9+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-31133-8
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993




MORE BY PATRICIA MACLACHLAN

ChildrenCHICKEN TALK by Patricia MacLachlan
by Patricia MacLachlan
ChildrenMY FATHER'S WORDS by Patricia MacLachlan
by Patricia MacLachlan
ChildrenBARKUS DOG DREAMS by Patricia MacLachlan
by Patricia MacLachlan

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE CASE OF THE TIME-CAPSULE BANDIT by Octavia Spencer
by Octavia Spencer