THE SHILOH RENEWAL by Joan Leslie Woodruff

THE SHILOH RENEWAL

Age Range: 12 - 15
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A brain-damaged teenager struggles to reconstruct herself and her shattered world in an electrifying first-person narrative. After an auto accident, Sandy awakens next to the gurney on which her sister Penny’s body rests. The nurses express surprise that she’s alive; the doctor holds out no hope either, and Sandy, after a brief stay in Intensive Care, is sent home to die. Against all odds, she hangs on; in the hallucinatory company of Penny, plus a series of Civil War soldiers converging on nearby Shiloh, Sandy slowly learns to walk and talk again, to find accommodations with her uncooperative, badly injured body, to reach through the constant pain and noise in her head. She describes her progress with unimpaired intelligence; in a measured, almost detached tone that will grip readers from the outset Sandy recounts victories and defeats in her battle against the “terrorists” and “mischievous voices, disobedient beasts and broken machines” in her brain. She notes external signs of her internal healing: Random jumbles of letters become understandable words again; she takes ever longer rambles about the farm; she refuses to take the strong tranquilizers the doctor has prescribed; and she accepts that Penny is gone. Woodruff fits Sandy with a distinct, individual voice, a past life of which, heartrendingly, she recalls only traces, and a strong supporting cast led by her sad, loving mother. A powerful, extraordinary story. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 15th, 1998
ISBN: 0-930773-50-0
Page count: 172pp
Publisher: Black Heron
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998




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