Sixteen-year-old Caroline and her twin sister Honey know for sure that their Uncle Toddy is a vampire who comes at night to drink their blood but fear of the consequences makes them keep their terrible secret.
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Grade 7-10-Horror fans will be attracted to and misled by this title. Carolyn, 16, lives a true-life horror story. Her descriptive term "vampire" for Uncle Toddy is a metaphor. Like all vampires, he makes nocturnal visits, but his lust is not for blood. The novel is her journal of vented anger and distress, with hallucinatory descriptions of people and bad dreams thrown in for good measure. Carolyn shares the pain and horror of incest with Honey, her twin sister and fellow victim. Amazingly, both girls lead successful academic and social lives. When their parents plan a two-week trip, leaving them in the care of Uncle Toddy, nonverbal cries for help escalate. No one reacts or notices. Their parents don't want to see. The mother, emotionally unstable, and the father, struggling to "keep up with the Joneses," only want to hear good news. Carolyn's older brother knows what is happening but is powerless to help. Relief comes with a holiday visit to an older sister away at college and a meeting with a guidance counselor. In a shocking conference with the counselor, Honey is revealed as imaginary, an alter-ego created as a coping mechanism. With the secret out, Carolyn races toward recovery. Given the excruciating detail of the girl's mental deterioration, the wrap-up is abrupt and dissatisfying. The stream-of-conscious view of events mars the narrative flow, whose purpose seems primarily bibliotherapeutic, a lead-in to an author's note that includes hotline numbers. Hadley Irwin's Abby, My Love (McElderry, 1985) and Ruth White's Weeping Willow (Farrar, 1992) address the same issues, but offer more balanced, fleshed-out protagonists with whom readers can identify. Uncle Vampire fails to create more than schizophrenic caricatures of Carolyn and her family. Enamored with her vampire imagery, Grant doesn't go beyond it. The girl writes, "It's hard to get rid of vampires. You have to drag them into the light." For Carolyn and other survivors, dragging the beast into the light is the treacherous first step on an arduous road to recovery, which is only superficially alluded to in this book.
Alice Casey Smith, Lakewood Public Library, NJ
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
At the end of this compelling depiction of the trauma of sexual abuse, Carolyn, 16, summons the courage to tell someone what her uncle Toddy has done for as long as she can remember. She's lucky: school counselor Ms. Johnson is gentle and persistent in making an opportunity for the bright, popular 16- year-old to explain why she's so troubled; and when Carolyn, paralyzed by the conviction that no one will believe her and that there will be terrible consequences, is still unable to speak, Ms. Johnson helps her confide in writing. Carolyn's home is one where such a secret thrives. Her chronically depressed mother was once institutionalized, a fate Toddy suggests awaits Carolyn if she tells; Dad doesn't want to hear about anyone's troubles; an older sister has escaped to college; her brother, who guesses, sees no way out. Toddy is indulged and excused when he can't keep a job, and has made himself essential in his brother's home (where he lives) by doing tasks Mom has abdicated. Grant discloses Carolyn's defenses against her uncle's late-night invasions through a heartbreakingly lyrical first-person: Carolyn tries to dilute the horror by creating a docile imaginary twin who takes on some of her conflicting feelings, and with other fantasies (Toddy as a vampire is less painful than reality), denial, and dreams. A note encourages teens who suffer abuse to get help and tells where to go, including the National Child Abuse Hot line number. Intense, beautifully written, important. (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Description du livre Atheneum, 1993. Library Binding. État : New. Never used!. N° de réf. du libraire P110689318529
Description du livre Atheneum, 1993. Library Binding. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX0689318529