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School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up
Tamara, a not-quite-15-year-old foster kid, describes with cynicism her deposit with yet another family. She's anorexic, she's a liar and truant, and she defines herself as a future model. Jean Barclay is a crotchety 89-year-old rest-home resident with a bum hip and a bourbon dependency. Brought together for a school project, each one realizes that the other has something she needs: Tamara can drive Jean to Seattle to see a series of beloved operas, and Jean can pay for a modeling course for Tamara in Vancouver. In alternating first-person narratives, they relate their plan to drive cross country-one to bring closure to a life, and the other to open a door. References to Dickens's Great Expectations and Wagner's Ring Cycle frame the text with some success, but Huser's prose is clunky, and his pacing is labored. The narrative voices are neither distinct from one another nor convincing. Most disappointing is the characters' lack of depth and growth. Both have serious problems (alcoholism, eating disorders) that are oddly made light of. Martha Brooks's True Confessions of a Heartless Girl (Farrar, 2003) and Patricia Reilly Giff's Pictures of Hollis Woods (Random, 2002) are more compelling explorations of the intersection of young and old at differing stages of life's journey.
—Riva PollardCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.