THE SUNDAY DOLL by Mary Francis Shura


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A not entirely successful study of the effects of keeping family secrets from the family's youngest member. Emmy fears that her 13th birthday will affect her as adversely as it has her older brother and sister, and even her best friend, Cassie--but her apprehensions are overshadowed by a mysterious crisis involving her sister, Jayne. Her parents, pretending that nothing is amiss, send Emmy off to Great-aunt Harriett's Missouri farm--without explaining that Aunt Harriett has been suffering seizures. Emmy and Aunt Harriett have always been close, although Emmy was considerably put off by her aunt's last birthday present: a faceless Amish doll (the Sunday doll). When Cassie calls and maliciously imparts the climax of Jayne's recent and mysterious troubles--the suicide of her boyfriend--Emmy is almost overwhelmed by anger at having been kept in the dark. But with the help of Aaron, Aunt Harriett's handyman and friend, and her own strength in a crisis involving her aunt, she begins to gain perspective and to understand the significance of her own carefully controlled emotions. Poorly developed characters and an occasionally intrusive style mar the explication of Shura's thoughtful theme. (For a more perceptive treatment of submerged emotions, try Fox's The Stone-Faced Boy.) Still, this book could provoke valuable discussion.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1988
Page count: 138pp
Publisher: Dodd, Mead