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BookBrowse Reviews December by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop

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December
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2008, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2009, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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A spellbinding novel about a troubled young girl and a family in crisis, and a gripping, astonishing portrait of recovery and self-determination

Isabelle refuses to speak, and her parents are in a panic. Ruth, Isabelle's mother blames herself, while Wilson, Isabelle's father, vacillates between hope and denial. Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop takes these three characters, three perspectives, and one interesting problem to create a novel that dually investigates the trials of family life and the pains of adolescence.

At the center of Winthrop's story is the silent Isabelle, whose life seems suddenly out of control. In actuality, Isabelle is merely growing up, but to her, things seem disordered and frightening. She recedes into her mind where she watches the world from behind a steel screen of silence and guilt. Isabelle is an astute 11 year old who sees what her silence is doing to her parents, but convinces herself that she cannot speak, that she has forgotten the self that used to be the speaking Isabelle. ...

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