Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Review: Adam and Eve and Pinch Me

Starting off Foster Care Month with an especially good book:

Adam & Eve and Pinch Me by Julie Johnson. Little, Brown, 1994;
Tundra, 2003 (0-8877-648-X) $9.95 trade

"If I've learned one thing in my life it's this: if you don't want
your heart broken, don't let on you have one" Sara Moone tells her
computer, the only thing she will allow herself to have a relationship
with. Shuffled from one foster home to another--"what do you do with
something you don't want? Throw it out, of course,"--Sara has cut
herself off from any positive feelings, living only for her sixteenth
birthday, when she will be free to live on her own, completely alone.
But as she types in the story of her latest foster home, with a
kindhearted farm couple and two other foster kids, Sara's sharp,
immediate narrative begins to show signs of thaw within her. Then a
new threat to her safe isolation appears: her birth mother, who once
gave her up and now wants her back. No longer able to convince
herself that she doesn't feel anything, Sara must try to figure out
which feelings to listen to.

Told in a caustic yet passionate voice that betrays the pain and
longing underlying Sara's hard facade, this is a beautifully realized
story. The small-town atmosphere and the characters of Sara's foster
parents are lovingly drawn, with an initial mockery that gradually
changes to interest and respect, as Sara begins to see beyond their
seemingly stereotypes behaviors. Sara herself is a terrific
character--sometimes hilarious, sometimes infuriating, but never
boring. Her journey from mistrustful stray to loving family member is
a tender, life-affirming triumph. * (12 & up)