THE ORNAMENT TREE by Jean Thesman

THE ORNAMENT TREE

Age Range: 11 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An orphan's life takes a sharp turn for the better when she becomes a member of her freethinking cousin's household. Newly orphaned Bonnie, 14, doesn't know what to expect of her relatives, but cousins Audra and Winnie, and Audra's grown daughter Sally, make her ``more welcome than good luck and Christmas both.'' Having fallen on hard times, the women have recently begun taking in boarders, struggling to keep their guests comfortable and fed. As in Thesman's Molly Donnelly (1993), the daily bustle and dinner table conversations of an extended family tie several plot threads together: the 1918 influenza epidemic; the return of Sally's bullying husband; the rehabilitation of a young, blind war veteran. On a lighter note, there is an unending parade of unpleasant cooks and minor domestic crises, and although Bonnie admires her relatives to pieces, the irony of women who pass out suffragist and birth control literature but can't cook their own meals is not lost on her. For her large cast Thesman relies on suggestion and nuance to develop her characters, but sensitive readers will be surprised at how familiar many of the people seem by the bittersweet but satisfying conclusion. A rich, multilayered novel anchored by a loving, unconventional family. Must the story end here? (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-74278-1
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1995




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