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Strong descriptions and a sense of realism bring freshness to a first novel with a familiar theme. Jan, oldest of three, has forged a special relationship with Gram, her great-grandmother, largely because her mother, pregnant again, is too overwhelmed with family burdens to give her the attention and approval she craves. Thus, when Gram breaks a hip and is hospitalized, Jan lives for the day when she can come home. Instead, Gram is placed in a nursing home and Jan's mother seems disturbingly content to leave her there. When Jan and her friends, who are helping out at the home, discover that Gram and Carl, another inmate, are deteriorating, they conceive of an elaborate plan to rescue them, including finding housing in an abandoned cottage. All goes well for a week, when they are found out. A final confrontation leads to a satisfactory solution, giving Gram her independence and a future with the family; but, as the story closes, Jan realizes that Gram may never be the same again. It is this refusal on Doren's part to turn away from a sad truth as well as the sharp characterizations, particularly of Jan and Gram, which distinguishes this book from others in the genre. Although not without weaknesses, a good treatment of a common problem.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1986
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Harper & Row