The True Colors Of Caitlynne Jackson

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About the Author: Carol Lynch Williams, a two-time winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition, is the author of several books for children, including two novels about the Orton family of New Smyrna, Florida: Kelly and Me and Adeline Street. A starred School Library Journal review of The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson praises Williams as she "again demonstrates her facility at mood and character ...

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1998 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 176 p. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

About the Author: Carol Lynch Williams, a two-time winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition, is the author of several books for children, including two novels about the Orton family of New Smyrna, Florida: Kelly and Me and Adeline Street. A starred School Library Journal review of The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson praises Williams as she "again demonstrates her facility at mood and character development... Truer colors are hard to come by."


Her most recent novel, If I Forget, You Remember, is a moving intergenerational story that stresses the bonds that hold families together through difficult times--a help since over 19 million Americans have a family member with Alzheimer's disease.

Twelve-year-old Caity and her younger sister Cara must fend for themselves when their abusive mother storms out of the house with a suitcase and doesn't come back.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
During the first disturbing chapters of this novel set in Florida, Williams (Kelly and Me; Adeline Street) graphically describes the abuse of two sisters by their apparently psychotic mother. Mrs. Jackson's behavior is never predictable; still, it comes as a shock to the reader as well as to 12-year-old Caitlynne and 11-year-old Cara when she storms out the door with her suitcase and typewriter to write a "blockbuster bestseller." Left with 43 dollars and a fresh batch of bruises, the girls feel relief when their mother is gone. But when the money is spent and Cara nearly drowns in a swimming accident, Caitlynne realizes they need adult help. Without a phone and inspired by the characters in the novel Homecoming, they set off on a day-long bicycle trip to their grandmother (who, according to their mother, doesn't even like them). This tale of abandonment and survival effectively expresses the gradual strengthening of Caitlynne's spirit, yet portraits of some important minor characters, including the grandmother, are as vague as the two-dimensional characterization of the children's monster-mother. The author is more successful at conveying the bond between two sisters in trouble. Scenes showing the girls' attempts to soothe each other's physical and emotional wounds add a strong undercurrent of tenderness to this often harrowing drama. Ages 10-14. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Rebecca Joseph
In this well-written novel, twelve-year-old Caity and her eleven-year-old sister Kara try to survive life with their physically and emotionally abusive mother. Very shy, Caity has a few friends at school, except for her neighbor Brandon who develops strong feelings for Caity. Scared of opening up to any outsider, Caity and Kara must survive on their own when their mother abandons them. They must decide whether to trust outsiders to help them live without and then with their mother. At times graphic in its portrayal of domestic abuse, this novel realistically depicts the inner emotions of children living in an incredibly difficult household.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Caitlynne, 12, is not sure whether to breathe freely or panic when her physically and emotionally abusive mother packs the car and takes off, leaving her in charge of her 11-year-old sister. Caitlynne, watching the single taillight of the old family car in retreat, makes the best of the situation despite her fear. By contrast, Cara, 11, is lighthearted and looking for fun. When their slim resources evaporate, the two are desperate and find help from their grandmother. Adding the only incongruous note to the plot, their ferocious mother tracks them down and must be apprehended just as they begin to feel secure. The stark, punishing environment from which the girls escape fosters endurance and clear values, reflected by the sustaining relationship of the sisters as well as Caitlynne's evolving artwork. The book is packed with visual imagery, from the blinking taillight to the calming waters of the mosquito-infested lake on which they live. As she did in Kelly and Me (Dell, 1995), Williams again demonstrates her facility at mood and character development. For suspense and emotional wallop, compare this novel to Marilyn Sachs's The Bear's House (Avon, 1989). Truer colors are hard to come by.-Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Williams (Tsubu The Little Snail, 1995, etc.) captures the easy rhythms of Florida speech and a vivid lakeside setting—a balm to her heroine's troubled spirit—in this story of abuse and survival.

Caitlynne, 12, does the best she can, but she'll never be accepted by the popular girls, one of whom says, "I'm not trying to be mean. . . . But if you'd just try and keep clean you'd look nicer." Popularity, though, is not a true priority for Caitlynne; she is too busy trying to navigate around her unpredictably abusive mother who lashes out verbally and physically at Caitlynne and her sister, Cara. Despite the abuse, Caitlynne loves her mother; she begs her to stay when she prepares to go away for a few months to work on her novel. How will Caitlynne take care of herself and Cara on the little money her mother left? Worse, will she and Cara be separated if the authorities find out their mother is gone? The strength of the novel is Caitlynne herself: Her connection to nature, affection for her sister, and budding romance with baseball-buddy Brandon combine to see her through the tough (really tough) spots. When she realizes she's in over her head, Caitlynne courageously goes for help. Her story is gracefully written and hard to put down.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440412359
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/9/1998
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.24 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Lynch Williams, a two-time winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition, is the author of several books for children, including two novels about the Orton family of New Smyrna, Florida: Kelly and Me and Adeline Street. A starred School Library Journal review of The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson praises Williams as she "again demonstrates her facility at mood and character development... Truer colors are hard to come by."

Her most recent novel, If I Forget, You Remember, is a moving intergenerational story that stresses the bonds that hold families together through difficult times--a help since over 19 million Americans have a family member with Alzheimer's disease.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2003

    Poor Cait

    This book was so exciting. I can't belive that someone who is supposed to love you could hurt you so bad. I am glad with the ending.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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