PICTURES IN THE DARK by Patricia McCord

PICTURES IN THE DARK

Age Range: 11 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Outwardly, the Nevilles of Spokane are your typical Eisenhower-era family; in reality, Mom is abusive and unhinged, given to withholding food from her two daughters regularly. Once she nearly choked her older daughter to death. Nearly everything her girls do sets this woman off, and punishment is quick and severe. All this happens under the unwatchful eye of Father, who, adoring his younger wife, is in deep denial. These “pictures” aren’t unremittingly bleak, however. McCord offers the girls support in the form of kind neighbors and a caring boyfriend for the older daughter. She also offers a more than one-sided portrayal of Mrs. Neville and includes strong hints of the emotional abuse she suffered in her own youth. There’s an uneasy truce at the end, with no sugar coating; it’s not a given that Mrs. Neville will ever completely exorcise her demons nor that her daughters will forgive her. To her credit, the author suggests no quick fixes, yet provides characters with whom readers will sympathize. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 1-58234-848-0
Page count: 322pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2004