SONGS FROM HOME by Joan Elizabeth Goodman

SONGS FROM HOME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Goodman, author and illustrator of several picture books (Hush Little Darling, not reviewed), has chosen for her first novel a well-worn YA theme: the doggedly conventional child rebelling against an unconventional parent. At least the setting she uses is fresh -- Rome, where young Anna Hopkins and her father scrape along on their earnings as singing street beggars. Anna, who has spent her childhood drifting around Europe with her gifted but irresponsible father, knows nothing of her family back in Missouri. She doesn't even know her long-dead mother's name or how she died until she runs into a childhood friend of her father's at a cafÉ. Predictably, Anna learns that her father's roaming is a way for him to evade his grief, and that her grandparents would sorely love to raise her. Meanwhile, Anna has been scheming with her best friend to fake a job application for her dad, hoping to trick him into a more normal lifestyle. Once he realizes all that Anna is up to, her father decides to move again -- to Greece -- but at the last minute he tells Anna that he's sending her home to her grandparents. The ending doesn't work: Dad's change of heart is too arbitrary, and Anna's last-minute panic about leaving her father seems tacked on. But though the writing often lapses into daintiness, Rome is described in vivid detail, and the girl's warring emotions are honestly captured. A respectable first outing.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1994
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace