Sunday, April 17, 2005

A Song for Jeffrey, by Constance M. Foland

This is a book in the American Girl Fiction series and, being part of that commercial line, I didn't have high hopes for it. However, it has a few good points.

First of all, it is a mildly educational book about muscular dystrophy and the troubles that children with it go through, both physically and emotionally. It is also a warm experience to watch how the heroine Dodie matures as she deals with the fact that her friend has MD and is dying. The author could have taken a lot of cheap steps to pull on heart strings and she avoided that.

The problem with the book is that it really tries to do too much. rather than focus on Dodie and Jeffrey's friendship, Foland also throws in the parental separation angle, as something of an oversight. This leads to several excruciating dialog scenes between daughter and parents about why her parents can't live with each other, and an overly sweet and tidy resolution (of sorts) to their problems.

And then there's the overly writing. Wonderful plot devices, great writing, until we get to the dialogue that just sounds flat and a bit fake. Too much preaching, vocabulary (and conversation) that's entirely age-inappropriate. Foland understands children and how they think, but she just doesn't get the way they talk down on paper.

A mixed review. Better than one would have expected, but suffers from the preachy and shallow nature of most AG works.

1 comment:

sylina said...

None the less.. it is quite a touching book, it really got to my heart and expanded my mind when I was a bit younger, it was easy to follow along with and enjoyable.. it made me cry.. I'm sensitive.. but for a book to move me like that.. wow.. I think it is age appropriate. Dodie reminded me of myself, I think it was quite an excellent book, I think if the way it was written was changed it could ruin it.