SAYING IT OUT LOUD by Joan Abelove


Age Range: 11 - 15
Email this review


Abelove moves from the exotic rain forest of her debut, Go and Come Back (1998), to more familiar suburban territory for this anguish-ridden tale of a teenager whose mother is terminally ill. As her mother lies in the hospital after the removal of a brain tumor, Mindy reflects on past conflicts and camaraderie, questions never asked, and should-haves, all amid a welter of anger, regret, guilt, and tears. Her distant father is little help, offering only vague platitudes (and one ultimatum about who she can date), calling her by a baby name she discarded long ago, assuring her that whatever comes she’s tough, like him. In a heartrending climactic scene, Mindy goes alone to visit her mother, and is deeply shocked to find her conscious but unaware, utterly gone inside. Abelove lightens the story (and allows the anthropologist’s perspective from the previous book to peek through) by opening the final chapter with a set piece on the parade of mourners bearing covered dishes; three friends, who sometimes sound like mouthpieces, offer comfort and wisdom. It’s clear that Mindy will be all right, but it’s also clear that this novel lacks the virtuosity of Abelove’s first outing. (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7894-2609-9
Page count: 136pp
Publisher: DK Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1999