Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review: Life in Miniature

Navigating the landscape of junior high is difficult enough for loner Adie, but her mother's psychiatric issues only magnify her sense of alienation and unhappiness. With her mother's history of psychiatric hospitalization Adie battles the stigma of having a "crazy" mother. Adie's mother suffers from paranoia, particularly with regard to illicit drugs. As the 1980s War on Drugs infiltrates the media, this brings Adie's mother to the brink of crisis. She moves the family frequently to avoid the dangers of drugs, and scrutinizes her daughters' behavior, presuming that every little scratch is a track mark. The situations escalates to the point where Adie's sister, Miriam, leaves home, and her mother, Mindy, goes on the run with Adie, trying to outrace the violent drug dealers who she is convinced are following them.

In Adie Schlossberg has crafted an intriguing character. Adie is desperate for her mother's attention, which is occupied by obsessions. I loved Adie's habit of observing the peculiarities of adult speech; that transported me back to my own childhood. I found the book's ending difficult to believe, but it did provide a compassionate portrayal of the effects of a parent's mental illness on a child.

Linda Schlossberg, Life in Miniature (Kensington, 2010) ISBN: 9780758238436

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