DOVE SONG by Kristine L. Franklin


Age Range: 10 - 13
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Two young people take on more than they can handle in this anguished, reflective story set on the homefront during the Vietnam War. The news that their father is missing in action horrifies Bobbie Lynn and her brother, Mason, but sends their dependent mother spiraling into a breakdown far worse than any of her previous spells; after a violent outburst, she takes to her bed, smoking, crying, and rarely eating. While the children struggle to maintain an appearance of normality, scramble for money, and care for their mother, Bobbie Lynn meets Wendy, a fiery, perceptive classmate and her brain-damaged twin sister, who are part of a lively, welcoming family. Despite Mason’s conviction that they’re on their own, Bobbie Lynn is driven to call for help, and support arrives speedily from several directions. Laced with tears and searching internal questions, Bobbie Lynn’s narrative takes on an intensity of feeling that will engage readers, though next to such stories of dysfunctional families as Jackie French Koller’s A Place To Call Home (1995), or Patricia Martin’s Travels With Rainie Marie (1997) the characters and story line is sketchy. Franklin (Eclipse, 1995, etc.) comes up with a pat resolution, including the revelation that Bobbie Lynn’s father is alive, and ties up loose ends in a way that is not fully credible. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7636-0409-7
Page count: 190pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999