POCKET CHANGE by Kathryn Jensen


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A once-stable, happy Vietnam vet loses his grip as his terrified teen-age daughter looks on. Josie's beloved father has become a tense, haunted man, and she can't figure out why. He's subject to hallucinations and violent fits of temper; out of the blue, he's ordered her to stop seeing her boyfriend; and he's taken to leaving the house for long periods, returning without explanation. No one will tell Josie what's going on--not her father, who never used to hide things from her; not her stepmother, Marsha, who's responding to the situation by frantically denying it. Baffled by their secretiveness, Josie doesn't know what to think; but after witnessing several episodes, she realizes that he's reliving the terror of his Vietnam War days, which took place 15 years ago. The author gives Josie a realistic mix of willingness to help and reluctance to disturb the status quo; despite the urging of friends, she won't go to the police, but she does talk to a psychologist. When at last her father locks himself in the house and starts shooting out the window at imagined enemies, Josie breaks through the police cordon and brings him back to reality long enough to realize that he does indeed need help. A well-knit novel--with a courageous heroine, sustained suspense, and no easy answers.

ISBN: 02-747731-2
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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