Barry's Sister

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Masterfully written and well-researched, Metzger's first novel is an affecting portrayal of a girl's reaction to a brother born with cerebral palsy. Ellen, 11, lives in New York City with her mother Loretta and her father, a submariner who's away for extended periods. When Loretta announces her pregnancy, Ellen is resentful, and after Barry is diagnosed, the girl's inner turmoil is manifested in poor grades, lying and shoplifting. But while homebound by an illness, she grows to love her brother with an intensity that soon allows time only for schoolwork and taking care of him. The situation is rectified when Loretta and newly acquired friends help Ellen achieve a wiser perspective. Although at times Ellen's narration sounds somewhat precocious, this accomplished novel, which takes its protagonist through puberty, junior high, a quasi-crush and eventual maturity, deserves space on YA bookshelves. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-- Ellen Gray is 12 when her mother announces that she is pregnant. Her father, a naval officer, is seldom home, and her anger at him spills over onto the expected baby; she asks God to ``make something happen so that the baby will disappear.'' When the infant is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she is sure she is being punished. Her guilt leads her to ignore him, but after seeing that her grandmother blames Ellen's mother for Barry's disability and avoids him, Ellen becomes fiercely protective toward her brother. It takes time, patience, and loving friends before Ellen and her parents resume their rightful roles in the family. Metzger has woven what is almost an allegory on families of children born with physical disabilities. All of the elements are here: the pity, shunning, and mockery displayed by those whose lives have been touched by disability; the isolation; the conflicting emotions; and the relief at finding others who share their problems. What is particularly impressive about this book, however, is that they are all included in an effortless and natural way. Mrs. Gray's realization that Ellen has become obsessed with caring for Barry comes abruptly and without explanation, but that is a minor flaw in what is, first and foremost, a well-written coming-of age novel. Ellen is struggling with her image of herself as a worthwhile human being; with her ambivalent feelings toward her father; and with her inability to like or respect her grandmother and aunt. She is a character that readers will take to their hearts, because her growing pains are universal. --Constance A. Mellon, Department of Library & Information Studies, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC-
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689315213
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/15/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    Very Good Book!

    I really enjoyed this book. It was set in a place you coulkd relate to and I just couldn't put it down.

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