MASKS by Gloria Hatrick

MASKS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Summer vacation ends with a tragic turn for the Chisholm family when narrator Pete's older brother, Will, is suddenly and completely paralyzed with Guillain-Barr‚ Syndrome. Both brothers get the runaround: The medical staff talks past them, their parents have low-voiced conversations and try too hard to act normally, and no one will discuss Will's condition in any but general, falsely cheerful, terms. Pete stays loyally at Will's bedside, sure that his brother is aware, and desperate to find some way to help him. Remembering the strange, transformative effects he and his brother had experienced while wearing animal masks from his anthropologist father's large collection, Pete begins sneaking them into the hospital--and they actually elicit small but noticeable responses. Hatrick shifts the narrator's voice to Will to show what's happening; by giving him new ways to visualize movement and to deal with his emotional turmoil, the masks do help; and when a crisis comes, it's the link the masks form with Pete that not only keeps Will alive, but puts him on the road to recovery. The characters here are all stock, but Hatrick's debut, drawn from personal experience, is a stirring, heartfelt tribute to the power of unwavering hope.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 120pp
Publisher: Orchard