SEEING THINGS by Robin Klein
Kirkus Star


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Miranda, 11, apparently has an unusual gift: when she stares at a photo or an old memento, she receives data about the scene or the object's earlier owner. Convinced that she's discovering what she couldn't know otherwise, Great-uncle Bernie introduces her to a group of psychics, hoping for commercial success. Meanwhile, feckless older sister Yvette's charismatic but unsavory former boyfriend Dave (father of the baby Yvette has dumped on her grandmother) coaxes Miranda to reveal where his partner in crime is hiding; but bribes quickly turn to threats as Dave kidnaps her and little brother Jimmy. This harrowing experience forces Miranda to confront the truth: her real gift is an extraordinary memory that has allowed her to reproduce the contents of an old Australian history, plus details others would have forgotten, to aid her deception; and, in trying to weather her parents' death in an auto accident and her family's troubled realignment, she has deceived herself most of all. Klein, an Australian whose novels are often notable for incisive realistic portrayals and original plots, draws these characters with her usual humor and insight, from Jimmy -- much more competent than he seems to his protective sister (it's he who frees the two of them from Dave) -- to Grandma, patiently making ends meet to raise two more generations. In her taut third-person narrative, the author cleaves so closely to Miranda's point of view that the girl's real troubles, and the key to their alleviation, are only hinted at until the riveting conclusion.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1994
Page count: 190pp
Publisher: Viking