THE SACRED CIRCLE OF THE HULA HOOP by Kathy Kennedy Tapp

THE SACRED CIRCLE OF THE HULA HOOP

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the riveting beginning here, 13-year-old Robin's pretty, talented, college-age sister wounds herself with a gun in a suicide attempt. Miraculously, Robin is there to save her; then, in flashbacks covering the previous three years, Robin tells how Jen's mysteriously erratic behavior has troubled her whole family. Jen's nice but unsophisticated parents have accepted her need for psychiatric help reluctantly and without ever discussing it with Robin, who--loving Jen and needing to understand--learns what she can by eavesdropping. Meanwhile, Robin has other concerns: coming to grips with ideas like sin, penance, and miracle, discussed at her parochial school; and continuing with the club that gives the book its title--three girls hoping that their. ""penances"" will elicit a miracle. The movie The Three Faces of Eve suggests to Robin that Jen may have a multiple personality; she knows that Jen is searching her memory and dreams for an early traumatic event--finally revealed as molestation by a babysister, since dead. With the circular hoop that returns to its beginning as her central symbol, Tapp has skillfully woven several patterns into the fabric of her novel: Jen's need to understand the roots of her trouble in order to free herself from them; Robin's maturing understanding of her family and of what a true pilgrimage or miracle might be. A thoughtful, engrossing story, with complex, three-dimensional characters. An Epilogue urges abused children to get help and gives the National Child Abuse Hotline number.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1989
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry/Macmillan