MY AUNT RUTH by Iris Rosofsky


Age Range: 12 - 16
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 Though her parents deplore Ruth's ``bohemian'' lifestyle, stage-struck Patty dearly loves her glamorous actress aunt; the two are true friends and confidantes. Then Ruth arrives at Patty's home in Scarsdale with a devastating problem: the complications of diabetes may require amputation of a leg. More than half the book involves the operations, disappointments, and family trauma as Ruth loses one and then the other leg; meanwhile, her husband brutally announces by phone from L.A. that he's left Ruth for her best friend, and Patty plays a minor role in a high-school production of Our Town. Later, Ruth begins her rehabilitation, and Patty gets to play Juliet and wonders whether she's really cut out to be an actress. Much of the emotional action here turns on the family dynamics: Mom obediently gave up a career as a pianist to become a stockbroker; Ruth is a former rebel who denigrates her own success (just soaps and ads); and now doctor Dad opposes Patty's ambition. The parallels are worth exploring; unfortunately, Rosofsky spends too much time on realistic but repetitious dialogue and explanation of Ruth's adult problems, depicts Patty's parents as almost one-dimensionally narrow-minded and authoritarian, skimps on Patty's relationship with friend Helen, whose betrayal is crucial to her theme, and--near the end-- thrusts a new career goal (writing) on Patty without really motivating it. There's much of value here, but it hasn't been developed to good advantage. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-025087-9
Page count: 215pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991