Cover image for Saying it out loud
Saying it out loud
Abelove, Joan.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : DK Pub., 1999.
Physical Description:
136 pages ; 22 cm
With the help of her best friend, sixteen-year-old Mindy sorts through her relationships with her solicitous mother and her detached father as she tries to come to terms with the fact that her mother is dying from a brain tumor.
Reading Level:
480 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 3.5 4.0 35264.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.8 8 Quiz: 20231 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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More than anything, Mindy longs to be told the truth. From the doctors, from her father. Mom isn't going to get better, she isn't going to leave the white room in the hospital ever again, isn't going to come home to fill the candy bowl with its magical stash of M & M's. But it's the silence, the avoidance and denial, that hurts Mindy the most. The year is 1961 -- clearly evoked in the music and movies (there is a powerful scene involving Spartacus). Mindy's father has absented himself emotionally from her adolescence, after stating, in his absolute way, that she will date no one who's not Jewish. Facing the death of her mother from a brain tumor, Mindy feels like an orphan, and, like her mother, excluded from life -- until friends get her laughing again, until she can see her mother and their relationship squarely and lovingly. This is a book that, though dark at its center, casts light on all sides, with extraordinary tenderness.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. "When I was little, I thought people died when they used up all their words," begins Abelove's poetic novel about a high-school senior whose mother is dying of a brain tumor. Mindy, whose father refuses to call her anything but her preschool nickname, Neenie, has always seen her mother as the emcee of the family, the one who smoothes things over with Father and sets the stage for him to speak. And speak he does--sometimes in excruciating detail and always with firm opinions--as, for example, when he tells Mindy that if she ever dates a non-Jewish boy, he will sit shivah for her as if she were dead. He does not, however, communicate anything of importance: he offers no guidance to help Mindy select a college, nor does he ever explain about her mother's illness. As the month (November 1961) moves on, Mindy comes to realize the many subtle ways, the ways other than words, she and her mother communicated, and she begins finding other people to turn to for support. Abelove draws this melancholy but ultimately hopeful story with delicacy of word and feeling and creates three powerful, memorable characters in the members of the family. Though in sharp contrast to Go and Come Back, a 1988 Booklist Editors' Choice, and the author's first novel, this proves once again that Abelove can write books that are not only very complex but also vibrant and infused with tenderness. --Susan Dove Lempke

Publisher's Weekly Review

A 16-year-old describes losing her mother to brain cancer in a month's worth of journal entries. "Abelove lifts Mindy's feelings of isolation and grief to a metaphoric level, making it a story about leaving childhood behind," said PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-This brief but powerful novel relates Mindy's thoughts and feelings during the very painful month preceding her mother's death. Through journal entries, narration, and flashbacks, the 16-year-old relates the course of her mother's illness from the numbing diagnosis of "brain tumor" to her eventual demise. Her father refuses to talk about his wife's illness or explain just how bleak the outlook is. Mindy is overcome with grief when she finally goes to the hospital and finds an empty, silent shell of a person in a stark white room instead of the mother she knows and loves. Luckily, Mindy has two good friends. Her best friend, Gail, is understanding, wise, and always available with unconditional love and support. Bobby, new to her school, provides the perfect diversion with his humor and affection. With their help, Mindy will get through this difficult time and move beyond to college and new relationships. Funny family stories and slices of life from the early '60s make this serious book a bit lighter and easier to digest. A beautifully written and tender portrayal of one young woman coming to grips with loss.-Barbara Auerbach, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.