NOTES ON A NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE by Olivia Birdsall

NOTES ON A NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE

Age Range: 13 - 16
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mia’s vision of her perfect upper-middle-class family lifestyle abruptly changes with very little warning or explanation when her father moves out. Household routines and rituals so comfortably familiar for 15-year-old Mia, her siblings and Mom fade away. As the middle child, Mia recounts not only the negative impact divorce has on older brother Allen and younger sister Keatie, but effectively relates her own feelings of loneliness and isolation, despite the other good things (new boyfriend Julian) that are happening in her life. With Mom withdrawing into her work and Allen developing a drinking problem, Mia feels the weight of responsibility as she reflects on her present through flashbacks of a happier time with Dad’s reliable parenting and attention. Written in a realistic, bright, honest, sometimes droll voice, Birdsall’s debut portrays the unfortunate side effects of divorce from the perspective of a confused and unhappy young teen who views her parents’ behavior as immature and selfish when compared to herself and her siblings. As in life, there is no happily ever after here, just poignant realization that life’s circumstances must be worked through and accepted with a great deal of contemplation, understanding and counseling. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 2007
ISBN: 0-385-73370-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2007