AN EARLY WINTER by Marion Dane Bauer


Age Range: 10 - 12
Email this review


A leaden, purposeful tale of a child encountering the reality of Alzheimer’s. Tim has ferociously denied that anything is wrong with his beloved grandfather, but he quickly learns otherwise on a clandestine fishing trip. Although his grandfather exhibits flashes of his old self, he can’t make change at the bait store, forgets to pack fresh water or a net, and experiences sudden, frightening mood changes. Worst of all, he keeps withdrawing into an eerie, silent helplessness, and finally walks off into the night, abandoning Tim and the camper. Bauer leaves out pointed lectures and clinical information about the disease to focus on its emotional impact on the victim and those around him. That focus wavers with the sudden, gratuitous revelation that Tim’s long-vanished father was exiled from the family for being a cocaine addict; still, Tim’s experience with his grandfather may convince readers with Alzheimer’s-stricken relatives that denial serves no purpose, and that the only response may be to surround the victim with loving, responsible family. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1999
ISBN: 0-395-90372-6
Page count: 120pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999