A SUDDEN CHANGE OF FAMILY by Mary Jane Auch

A SUDDEN CHANGE OF FAMILY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Just after Katy and her mother arrive at the Connecticut shore to spend their treasured annual vacation with her mother Linda's loving extended family, Mom discovers that she was adopted as a baby. Furious with Grandma Whitmarsh, she bundles Katy back into the car and sets off to find her birth parents, who now live in a ramshackle house in rural Pennsylvania. It seems that Jewel and Clyde Lummis gave Linda up because they had too many kids and couldn't cope; now they receive her and Katy with bustling affection, thanks partly to their grandson Elijah's mistaken notion that Linda's new family is ""loaded."" Though exhibiting odd streaks of competence, the Lummises are a feckless pair whose other children are long gone; after Katy makes an abortive attempt to go back to the Whitmarshes with Elijah, she and Mom go home to a happy reconciliation. This is too nearly possible to be funny, yet too broadly drawn to be plausible. The serious theme is subverted by inadequate characterization: Mom's positive response to her bizarre birth-parents, with whom she seems to have nothing in common (in itself unlikely), is unmotivated; worse, the Lummises are mere stereotypes of the irresponsible poor. Adopted children who find their natural parents may not realize their dreams; but Auch does a disservice by concocting a scenario that is both scary and unrealistic. A disappointment, lacking both the humor and the senstitivity of her earlier stories.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1990
Page count: 152pp
Publisher: Holiday House