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Paint Me a Monster

Paint Me a Monster

by Janie Baskin

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Born to a superficial mother and a selfish dad, Rinnie is the proverbial middle child. It doesn't take long before she notices how her mother dotes upon older sister, Liz and younger brother, Evan, but neglects her. Curious and inquisitive, the protagonist is often ignored by her parents, but it's from the sidelines that she is able to surmise early on her family's breakdown. Often left in the care of others-along with her siblings-she is only ever the focus of her mother's interest when Rose is seeking Rinnie's opinion on her makeup. When the girl asks Rose why she is treated differently than her siblings, her mother responds by saying, "I created a monster." As a teen, she tries to rid herself of the "monster" with an eating disorder, while seeking love and acceptance from her housekeeper, nurse, and Gaga, her grandmother. Rinnie escapes reality by living in her dreams and finding deeper meaning through writing and art, especially when tragedy strikes during the novel's climax. Baskin takes readers through a tug of war of emotions, punctuated by short, lyrical chapters that include poems, letters, and lists. Teens will follow the protagonist's tumultuous journey from innocent little girl to heartbroken teen and eventually a brave young adult. By helping others, Rinnie discovers a kindness only she knows how to give.—Keisha Miller, South Orange Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-10-20
Baskin's first novel spans 13 years in the life of an artistic girl torn between perfection and loving herself as she is. Three-year-old Margo renames herself Rinnie after Rin Tin Tin, "the smartest, fastest, strongest dog in the world." Rinnie's family appears to be the perfect wealthy nuclear family of the 1950s, complete with housekeeper and cook, but life in the Gardener home--particularly Rinnie's--is far from idyllic. Her younger brother is coddled and her older sister held up as an example, while Rinnie, the "monster," struggles for their mother's love and approval. After her parents divorce, her brother moves in with Dad, leaving Rinnie and her sister to stay behind to endure Mom's abuse, often aimed at Rinnie. As Rinnie loses control, she restricts her food intake and keeps track of every bite, convincingly chronicled in her obsessive, present-tense narration. If she can be perfect, she'll reclaim her parents' love. The school counselor encourages 16-year-old Rinnie to trust herself to save herself, and with his help, Rinnie paints the monsters of her past to begin the journey toward a future of hope, trust and freedom. Rinnie's voice is honest and unflinching, gradually maturing from a 3-year-old's singsong to that of a well-spoken, intelligent teenager. Readers will fall in love with Rinnie; Baskin has crafted a beautiful story about the complexities of family, self-respect and human connection. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.43(w) x 8.46(h) x 1.12(d)
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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