Cover image for The last April dancers
Title:
The last April dancers
Author:
Thesman, Jean.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Cat St. John tries to come to terms with the growing evidence of her father's mental illness and his eventual suicide.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780395430248
Format :
Book

On Order

Summary

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Cat St. John tries to come to terms with the growing evidence of her father's mental illness and his eventual suicide.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

When Catherine's father drowns himself on her sixteenth birthday, she blames the women in his life his wife, who had denied his increasing fragility; his mother, who had never accepted him; and especially herself she had given up trying to help him and had yelled at him the day he died. In counterpoint to the tragedy and its aftermath is the steadily growing love between Cat and her neighbor Cameron, a tender romance complete with dancing under the cherry blossoms, adult disapproval, and secret trysts over the garden wall. The father's suicide is heavily foreshadowed in the repeated symbol of the bridge beneath which ``the dark is born,'' and the romance borders on the sentimental. Even though Cameron seems impossibly mature and strong, he is sensitive and low-key; he cries when they discover the body Cat is too tight with guilt and anger. In a quiet, first-person, present-tense narrative Cat describes her gentle father and her inner struggle as she overcomes her estrangement from her mother and grows to accept uncertainty. She cries at last, knowing that ``we did the best we could.'' Gr. 7-10. HR. Mentally ill Fiction / Fathers and daughters Fiction / Suicide Fiction / Family problems Fiction [OCLC] 87-3027


Publisher's Weekly Review

Cat St. John is painfully aware of her father's odd behavior. She takes it on herself to watch over her father, since her aloof mother and difficult grandmother seem determined to ignore his problems. On Cat's 16th birthday, her father kills himself, leaving Cat struggling to make sense of his life and death. Her involvement with Cameron, the boy next door, provides a poignantly romantic counterpoint to this somber exploration of family life. Though Cat's mother and grandmother are one-dimensional at the novel's start, as Cat learns more about them, they become easier for readers to sympathize with, if not to like. This powerful, disturbing novel is not for those who want easy answers. A difficult subject is handled with much tact and grace; the terse, elegant language rings terribly true. Ages 12-up. (October) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved