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THE ILLUSTRATED MUM by Jacqueline Wilson


by Jacqueline Wilson

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-73237-6
Publisher: Delacorte

Wilson admirably keeps things upbeat as she explores two sisters’ coping with a mother who is careening further into mental illness and alcoholism. Beautiful, odd, and very tattooed Marigold loves her two daughters, ten-year-old Dolphin and 12-year-old Star—progeny of two different brief relationships—but can barely take care of them responsibly. More often than not, they’ve had to care for her, and they strive mightily to make allowances and appear normal. When Star’s father invites the girls to live with him, only his own daughter accepts, and Dolphin must make things work at home. A particularly bizarre behavior by Mum forces Dolphin, buoyed by a newfound, supportive friendship with a classmate who’s also an outsider, to take drastic action. The very satisfying ending—Dolphin connects with the father she’s never seen and maybe, after hospitalization, Mum will get better—is pat, but readers won’t care. They’ll feel for these two very realistically drawn girls and hope for the best along with them. The author doesn’t shy away from the difficulties, but there’s humor here, too. (Fiction. 11-14)