LOSING LOUISA by Judith Caseley


Age Range: 12 - 15
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A tough, persuasive examination of the devastating effects of divorce on the members of what appeared to be a strong, solid family. When Michael Levine divorces Lacey and Rosie’s mother, each of those left behind retreats into her own protective shell. Ma takes up with a bodybuilder named Vinnie; Rosie’smart, pretty, and talented—finds solace in an increasingly physical relationship with her boyfriend, Joey; Lacey, feeling deserted and alone, moons over self-centered, wise-cracking David. Just after Lacey discovers her sister and Joey having intercourse in the Levine basement, Rosie learns that she is pregnant; the family has to support Rosie as she decides whether to have the baby or to have an abortion. Ultimately Rosie decides to have her baby and to give it up for adoption, with a hope that she will somehow remain part of its life. Caseley (Jorah’s Journal, 1998, etc.) leaves the meaning of the title ambiguous, and allows the story, at times, to be realistically depressing in its portrait of a family trapped in pain. Only when Michael Levine—offstage most of the book—reappears does the family reconfigure itself and find a way to move forward. In the end, readers know that the Levines will survive, and that Lacey, a particularly memorable character, will be there for them. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 24th, 1999
ISBN: 0-374-34665-8
Page count: 236pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1999