WRITING TO RICHIE by Patricia Calvert


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David and his younger brother, Richie, are headed to their new foster home. Although their parents are alive, their mother's stints in asylums and their father's drinking have caused Child Aid to take over their upbringing. They must move often (Child Aid policy doesn't allow children and foster parents to get too attached), but they have always managed to stay together. As they drive, David tells Richie the story of their dream home (loud echoes of Of Mice and Men) where there will be a front porch, a garden for them to play in, and two large beds for them to sleep in. Amazingly, the Birks' house fits the description, down to the treasure box. But Richie doesn't enjoy life with the Birks for long. During lunch at school, he suffers an allergic reaction and dies. Now David is alone, feeling guilty that he couldn't protect Richie from all harm. The Birks get a new foster child, a skinny red-headed girl with a lot of attitude named Ollie. Fearless and brassy, her motto is ""Don't Take Crap."" She and David become friends. David and the Birks smooth Ollie's edges, and Ollie helps David reclaim Richie's memory. Although Calvert (Bigger, p. 553, etc.) tries to pack too much into this slim novel, honest emotion holds it all together.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Scribners