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Travels with Rainie Marie
     

Travels with Rainie Marie

by Patricia Martin
 

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Rainie Marie is tired of leaving home, of taking care of her family, of wiping noses, and of making sandwiches. She secretly hopes that this travel will be her last.

Overview

Rainie Marie is tired of leaving home, of taking care of her family, of wiping noses, and of making sandwiches. She secretly hopes that this travel will be her last.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Twelve-year-old Rainie Marie keeps an acorn in her pocket, hoping to become as rooted as the big old oak in the park behind her apartment. In the meantime, she, along with her two sisters and three brothers, are passed among relatives while her emotionally unstable mother endures her "dark days." Soon after the story opens, the children are packed off again, this time to stay with their great-grandmother. In the tradition of Vera and Bill Cleaver's Where The Lilies Bloom, Martin's first novel shows how a plucky girl takes charge of a brood of siblings (characterized as little more than a noisy mob), but while the Cleavers' heroine eventually yields to the wisdom and authority of a sympathetic adult, Rainie Marie remains steadfast to her goal of returning to her ailing mother and single-handedly running the household. The first-person narrative has some poetic moments ("Mama was a tiny person, except for her big eyes. They were deep as two black holes in outer space, and when you looked intently into them, you felt like you could fall in"), but offers a too idealistic remedy for a dysfunctional family. In the end, Rainie sneaks the kids back to Mama; while some will read the children's return as a joyous occasion, the author has planted enough information about the mother's instability that others will find this "triumphant" conclusion hollow.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Twelve-year-old Rainie Marie keeps an acorn in her pocket, hoping to become as rooted as the big old oak in the park behind her apartment. In the meantime, she, along with her two sisters and three brothers, are passed among relatives while her emotionally unstable mother endures her "dark days." Soon after the story opens, the children are packed off again, this time to stay with their great-grandmother. In the tradition of Vera and Bill Cleaver's Where The Lilies Bloom, Martin's first novel shows how a plucky girl takes charge of a brood of siblings (characterized as little more than a noisy mob), but while the Cleavers' heroine eventually yields to the wisdom and authority of a sympathetic adult, Rainie Marie remains steadfast to her goal of returning to her ailing mother and single-handedly running the household. The first-person narrative has some poetic moments ("Mama was a tiny person, except for her big eyes. They were deep as two black holes in outer space, and when you looked intently into them, you felt like you could fall in"), but offers a too idealistic remedy for a dysfunctional family. In the end, Rainie sneaks the kids back to Mama; while some will read the children's return as a joyous occasion, the author has planted enough information about the mother's instability that others will find this "triumphant" conclusion hollow. Ages 9-13. (May)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Twelve-year-old Rainie Marie loves her five younger siblings, but is tired of having to care for them and organize their lives like an adult; a situation that happens quite often when her mother feels emotionally and economically unable to cope with her large, lively family. What really bothers Rainie Marie, however, is the way that she and the younger kids are forced to go on "travels," frequent, but indefinite visits with various relatives, while her mother tries to recover her equilibrium. Told in the first person, from spunky Rainie's point of view, this combination family/survival novel presents an array of lively, unique characters.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Lynch's third book in the "He-Man Women Haters Club," is perfect for ambitious fifth graders who dream of establishing their own rock bands. The heroes here are eighth graders, but their enthusiasm is contagious, and who cares if the band has no guitarist? Well, Wolfgang does. He recruits Scratch, who has long hair and a tattoo and speaks in grunts. He's perfect! And the band takes off! Their adventures on stage are a riot. Kids will want to read the other books.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-6Rainie Marie, 12, the self-proclaimed "Mistress of Magic," derives her power from an acorn. She's also, by default, the mistress of her five siblings, because her mother suffers from disabling emotional problems. When the woman's friend dies and she must find a new place to live and a job, the children set off on another of their "travels," this time to stay with their beloved Great-Gran. Then Great-Gran sickens, and the obstacle to their return to their mother is bossy Aunt Castina, "Aunt Awful," who has decided that the youngsters will be split among relatives, including their father. Though the plight of the family is dire, the plot never gains the momentum to engage readers. Decisions are made during phone conversations, which fail to realize dramatic potential. Touching moments, as when Rainie Marie confronts the loss of her magic acorn and admits common bonds with Aunt Awful, fail to energize the story because the characters are largely monochromatic. Only Rainie Marie achieves dimension, substantially due to the wistful, sad songs she composes to entertain and soothe the others. The style relies on unremarkable dialogue and descriptions of the surroundings, which effectively sustain the dingy, gray mood. Thematically, this book shares much with Cynthia Voigt's Dicey's Song (Atheneum, 1982), but falls far short of that title in plot and characterization.Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Martin's first novel focuses on details that make settings vibrant and bring characters to life as a young girl attempts to keep her family together.

Rainie Marie, 12, has been forced to care for her five younger siblings, at her home and at the homes of the various relatives to which the children are shipped (their "travels") whenever their mother's bouts of depression become serious. This time they are at Great-Gran's, and while the children love the old woman, Rainie Marie wants to be home, no matter how rocky it gets. When Great-Gran is hospitalized, the children's domineering Aunt Castina plans to split them up among the rest of the relatives permanently, but Rainie Marie is just as determined to keep the family whole. The children's journey, replete with train stations and schedules, is vivid and realistic, and readers attempting to tell the siblings apart will be aided by the presence of each child's signature object. The story is headed in a grim direction when Rainie takes charge again; her gains appear temporary, but her perseverance is admirable. The only quibble may be that the adults are either weak to a fault or pushy in the extreme—not quite two-dimensional, but close.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786802579
Publisher:
Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date:
05/05/1997
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.71(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

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