MIND'S EYE by Paul Fleischman


Age Range: 12 & up
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The author of Bull Run (1993) and Dateline: Troy (1996) charts another bitter campaign, this one for a teenager’s spirit, and waged entirely within the walls of a nursing home. Paralyzed in a riding accident, Courtney wakes up in a room with a broken TV and two aged roommates: May, an Alzheimer’s victim, and Elva, a frail former teacher with failing eyesight. Elva immediately launches an attack on Courtney’s shock and despair, frankly informing her that imagination and a well-furnished mind will always serve when the body fails (“You, my girl, must be your own Scheherazade. You must keep yourself alive”). Elva proposes that, with the help of a 1910 copy of Baedeker’s Italy, they take an imaginary journey to Italy, bringing the experience to life by describing in detail to each other what they would do and see. Fleischman constructs this as a script free even of stage directions; he succeeds in creating distinct voices, contrasting Elva’s cultured, poetic utterances with Courtney’s nearly monosyllabic but revealing replies. The play closes with a poignant, slightly eerie epilogue set after Elva’s death, in which Courtney describes to a newcomer a romantic past that she has constructed out of her own mind and bits of Elva’s life. Disturbing and moving. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8050-6314-5
Page count: 108pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999