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Carter, Alden R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [1990]

Physical Description:
144 pages ; 22 cm
Fourteen-year-old Shar struggles to live a normal life as her father's mental instability, caused by an aneurysm of the brain, makes him more and more difficult as a family member.
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Central Library FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Fourteen-year-old Shar struggles to live a normal life as her father's mental instability, caused by an aneurysm of the brain, makes him more and more difficult as a family member.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. Shar's dad hasn't been the same since his stroke. He can't work or concentrate, and he can't generate love or interest for his family. Formerly possessing a sweet temperament, he is now prone to violent outbursts. In her working mother's absence, Shar struggles with burdens beyond her 14 years as she runs the house, goes to school, and tries to grow up, all at once. More than anything, she wants to help her dad recover his former self. Carter is extraordinarily, almost painfully, perceptive about the dynamics of family life during an illness and extends an unsentimental sympathy to all. In particular, he is frank yet restrained in presenting Shar's fears that her dad might harbor incestuous impulses. Ultimately, Shar learns to accept her dad for what he has become and to get on with her own life--a hopeful but realistic conclusion to a fine, sensitive book. ~--Leone McDermott

Publisher's Weekly Review

Shar is starting ninth grade with some severe handicaps: not only is she chubby and undeveloped, but her father is behaving like a robot. An aneurysm he suffered the spring before cut off oxygen to the part of the brain that controls higher emotions, including love and parental responsibility. So now, Shar's father is subject to fits of rage and he acts as if he doesn't love his children. Shar must look after her little brothers and her father, which makes adjusting to her changing social life even tougher. Carter offers a gritty and probing look at an unfortunate situation--a dysfunctional family. The novel is ultimately inspiring, as Shar faces estrangement from her best friend, rejection by her father and an unpleasant first romantic encounter with aplomb. Readers are left knowing that, through self-respect and her family's love, Shar will emerge from her crises perhaps scarred, but emotionally stable. Ages 11-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-- Shar, 14, is in charge of her 12-year-old brothers and her father, who was disabled by a cerebral hemorrhage. No longer capable of working, he sits in front of the television set eating huge bowls of cereal and drinking kool aid. Shar is hurt by his inability to remember love and refuses to accept his situation as permanent. She also resents her brothers' indifference to him; her mother's full-time career and career associate, Bob; and her best friend's new love interests. While this could be a powerful story of a family caught up in change, it doesn't quite work. There is an artificiality about it that distances readers from caring about Shar and her father. His character successfully captures the hopelessness of his situation, but her language and emotions are not those of a 14-year-old girl. Exhibiting maturity far beyond her years, she is so compassionate that she understands the genuine innocence of her father's sexual advances toward her. The plot is manipulated and stiff rather than flowing. Even the final scene with Shar and her father does not ring true as he suddenly has too much self-awareness, leading to a neat and tidy conclusion. --Therese Bigelow, Wayne County Public Lib . System, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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