PAPER FACES by Rachel Anderson


Age Range: 10 & up
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 From the author of Bus People (1992), another perceptive, unsentimental depiction of a child emotionally abandoned by her parents. Gloria, Dot's mum, isn't evil; but she's very young, thoughtless, and overwhelmed. Since Anderson skillfully maintains Dot's viewpoint, Gloria's troubles are poignantly enigmatic, to be interpreted as if by a six-year-old who's been taught nothing but who's absorbed the slogans and fears rife in WW II London: not until the end do we know that Dot's dad, traumatized by the military, has been in an asylum; and we never learn whether Gloria's absences, when she leaves Dot in the care of a landlady of Dickensian meanness, are only selfish, or worse. When ``Baby,'' Dot's brother, dies in hospital, no one tells Dot what's really happened, so when she falls ill and goes to the same hospital she has real reason to be frightened; even losing her first tooth is totally unexpected and alarming. There are two idyllic interludes in her bleak existence: Gloria has a friend in the country, a wholesome and compassionate woman who has taken her in before; visits on her farm expand Dot's horizons (she even learns to read there) and help her form a resolve; and when Dad comes home, though he's vacant and withdrawn, Dot clings to the hope that she and her parents will become a real family. A spare, wonderfully evocative picture of Britain in the hard times following the war--and of one small survivor creating her own life, from virtually nothing. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8050-2527-8
Page count: 150pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993


ChildrenTHE BUS PEOPLE by Rachel Anderson
by Rachel Anderson