ROUND THE BEND by Mitzi Dale


Age Range: 12 & up
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 In a frank, first-person narrative, an intelligent daydreamer describes her puzzled search for meaning in the real world. After years of steady withdrawal, Deirdre, 13, sets fire to her bed, ending up in a hospital. It's not, she says, that she's been abused or traumatized; it might have been easier if she had. ``But as it was, nothing happened to me. Nothing ever happened.'' The late-in-life child of an inexpressive father and an unfulfilled mother, she has found adults to be dishonest with themselves and others, and school uninvolving. Daydreams were preferable--long, nonrepeating episodes about a rancher's daughter who manages horses and cowboys and rises above her neighbors' misunderstandings. Now adolescence brings Deirdre, literally, to the screaming point; and while a group home provides one young friend who needs her, it's an unorthodox therapist who really helps her find her own way. Though without the power of Oneal's The Language of Goldfish (1980), Deirdre's wry, self-involved voice is believable and the language accessible. And if the reasons for both her withdrawal and her recovery are occasionally either pat or unclear, that's a plausible component of Deirdre's own understanding. Her story should fascinate its teen audience, many of whom have also found the adult world maddeningly frustrating. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-385-30308-4
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1991