ALL THE WAY HOME by Patricia Reilly Giff

ALL THE WAY HOME

Age Range: 10 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

It is the summer of 1941. Mariel, a victim of polio, lives in Brooklyn with her “almost mother” Loretta, who had been her nurse in a hospital in Windy Hill. Now Mariel is learning to adjust to her crippled legs, neighborhood prejudice, and her own fear of being unable to live a normal life. Loretta constantly encourages Mariel to keep trying, telling her of President Roosevelt’s battle with polio. Brick comes to live with Loretta, his mother’s best friend, when his family has to give up their farm in Windy Hill. Brick feels responsible for the loss because he had helped to save his neighbors’ orchard from a fire, but was not able to save his own. Both children have compelling reasons to return to Windy Hill. Brick needs to help the neighbor pick his apple crop or his farm would be lost also. Mariel needs to put a name and face to her vague memories of her mother. Giff weaves these elements into a moving story of friendship, love, and need. And through it all the characters follow the achievements of the Brooklyn Dodgers, whose tenacity after so many years of failure gains them the pennant and helps Mariel understand that Loretta speaks truly when she tells her that she can accomplish anything. Giff portrays an era that is probably unfamiliar to young readers. But the themes are universal. The fears of the terrible ravages of polio and the near hysteria concerning its spread are with us today in the age of AIDS. And if the characters are just a bit too altruistic and the plot just a bit convoluted and contrived, so be it. It’s really all about love, sacrifice, and courage. Readers will be swept away. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-385-32209-7
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2001




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