Nina Bawden The Outside Child

ISBN 13: 9780140368581

The Outside Child

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9780140368581: The Outside Child

Thirteen-year-old Jane, whose quiet life with her two aunts is interrupted by sporadic visits from her seafaring father, tries to learn more about her half brother and sister after discovering that her father remarried ten years ago.

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About the Author:

Nina Bawden is one of the most admired and engaging writers of fiction for children and has written more than fifty books. Born in 1925, she was educated at Oxford and completed her first novel the year after gaining her degree. She is the author of such classics as Carrie's War and The Peppermint Pig, and has won the Guardian Fiction Award and the Phoenix Award as well as being commended for the Carnegie Medal. Described by the Daily Telegraph as 'without question one of the very best writers for children', she divides her time between London and Nauplion in Greece.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-9-- Her mother dead and her father "away at sea most of the time," 13-year-old Jane has been adopted and raised by a pair of loving, eccentric aunts, secure in the knowledge that they are all the family she wants and needs--until, on a rare visit to her father's ship, she discovers a picture of two younger children among the familiar family photographs on his desk. Thus she first learns of Annabel and George, her father's children by his second wife. More bewildered than embittered by her discovery, Jane imagines herself an "outside child," her nose pressed against the window looking in at the cozy family to which by rights she should belong. With her best friend, Plato Jones, as a willing accomplice (and clearly against the wishes of all the adults involved), she sets out to find Annabel and George, with no fixed plan and near tragic results. Jane's is a tale of innocence and experience, one that comes full circle in a way that should be--but is not quite--satisfying. She begins content with her unconventional family, certain that, for her, it is the best and only possibility. Once this certainty is shattered, she struggles to complete the family circle as she imagines it, only to find the reality unequal to the dream. In the end, she embraces the family (and friend) she's always loved, her love strengthened by the knowledge and acceptance of other realities. While Plato is a fully realized secondary character, the adult characters are another story. As vividly drawn as they all are, it is never quite credible that any of them would participate in such a deception or fail to set things right when the truth is finally revealed. Where Paula Fox's portrait of a difficult character makes Village By the Sea (Orchard, 1988) work, The Outside Child founders on extraordinary circumstances never quite made real. Still, if less than successful as a whole, this is fully engaging from page to page. Bawden's prose is arresting, creating a rich tableaux of crystalline moments and remarkable (if not quite believable) characters. And that's more than enough to propel readers from beginning to bittersweet end. --Marcia Hupp, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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