APRIL AND THE DRAGON LADY by Lensey Namioka

APRIL AND THE DRAGON LADY

Age Range: 11 - 16

KIRKUS REVIEW

 April Chen is a typical American teenager. Her flute playing is of solo quality; she's interested in geology and hopes to go to the Colorado School of Mines; she has a red-haired boyfriend, Steve, who agreeably accommodates to the demands of her Chinese- American family. As embodied in her widowed father's mother, these are difficult and, by US standards, unreasonable; indulged older brother Harry declares himself unavailable on the flimsiest of pretexts, so April must give up field trips and rehearsals to stay with Grandma, who has taken to vague wanderings. April finds her family's assumption that, as a girl, Grandma's care is her responsibility unfair but hard to challenge; in time, she also becomes aware that Grandma, far less helpless than she pretends, deliberately manipulates her. Namioka's accessible narrative verges on simplistic; supportive Steve is a stock character, and only April and Grandma are realized with any depth. Still, the questions of responsibilities within families and of the division of competences and powers between men and women are effectively addressed, illuminating both Chinese tradition and issues that transcend any particular culture. Grandma finally overreaches herself and gets a fair, but not unkind, comeuppance that frees both April and her dad: a cultural hybrid of a conclusion that's certainly satisfying and probably within the realm of possibility. (Fiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-15-276644-8
Page count: 214pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1994




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