LAST ONE HOME by Mary Pope Osborne


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Bailey Evans, 12, is grieved and angry because her father's bride-to-be is exasperatingly patient and understanding, her brother Claude is about to join the Army, and Mom doesn't care about her anymore. Bailey, Claude, and Dad have done a good job of taking care of each other for as long as Bailey can remember. When Mom was still there, she was always drunk and often abusive; Claude made summer a time to remember by devising imaginative games for the two of them outside the house. After Dad gave Mom a choice of the family or her alcohol and she left, there were good years. But now Dad is preoccupied with Janet and her two small children, not even sleeping at home; and Claude, brooding over his breakup with Marlene, hardly seems interested in the family realignment. Bailey's mourning for her past, imperfect as it was, is so vehemently expressed as anger that her attempts to reunite her loved ones and get their attention are doomed to frustration. But Bailey is a spunky, indomitable kid whose worst fault is tactlessness. Her wrong approaches are painfully realistic; we rejoice when she finally responds to Janet's peacemaking and things begin to go her way. There will be a lot of kids who recognize themselves and their situation in this vividly drawn portrait.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Dial