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Pieface is the name given pudgy Pamela Teitelbaum by a crusty old lady named Shirley (""don't you never call me a bag lady"") whom she finds at the library clipping coupons. What is Pamela doing at the library? Essentially, trying to avoid her Jewish-mother-in-law grandmother, who is staying in the Teitelbaum's den while recovering from an operation. After Grandma leaves, Pamela's pretty adopted cousin Daphne comes to stay for the summer, numbed and unhappy from being rejected by both her real parents and her now-divorcing adoptive ones; and Pamela is just as ungracious about spending time with Daphne as she was about Grandma. She does help Shirley with her coupon collecting and trash recycling and other ""business"" activities, but her initial motivation for that is credit and glory at school. (The class is to cut down on TV and report on what else they did with the time.) When Shirley speaks more kindly to Daphne than she ever has to ""Pieface,"" and especially when Daphne is roundly applauded for getting Shirley to a hospital after a stroke, Pamela's initial reaction is jealousy. In the end, though, she nobly gives up her role as flower girl in cousin Raina's wedding, in favor of Daphne who fits the dress and looks far lovelier. But the whole cast consists of such pale, unshaded stereotypes that it hardly matters what is made to happen to any of them.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin