MOLLY DONNELLY by Jean Thesman


Age Range: 12 - 16
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 The author of several well-plotted if melodramatic novels (The Rain Catchers, 1991) uses the straightforward narration of a young Irish-American as a framework for depicting the WW II years in Seattle. Molly's best friend, Emily Tanaka, is interned at the beginning; Molly's mother gets a factory job and learns to value her independence, while a friend's mother suffers a factory injury exacerbated by the difficulty of finding a doctor; stressed by his night work and rocky marriage, Dad drinks too much; shortages are rampant, as is prejudice--not only against the Japanese and the people living in ``Tent Town'' but as exhibited in a music teacher's tirade against two young tenors who, he says, sound like girls. Almost everyone suffers a loss: for Molly, it's cousin Maureen, an army nurse captured in the Philippines. Unfortunately, the characters who live through this extensive social history never really come to life; though bratty brother Dusty and Maureen's sweet, supportive dad, Uncle Charlie, have potential, they're two-dimensional compared to the feisty, richly complex people in Thesman's other books. The title character from Rachel Chance (1990), who shows up next door, is a pallid imitation of her earlier self; and slipping in Rachel's reunion with Hank as a very minor subplot will seem like a real cheat to her fans. Even the style here is without the immediacy and vivid, poetic descriptions of the author's earlier work. Not bad, but far from this storyteller's compelling best. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-64348-1
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993


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