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How miserable can a 12-year-old's summer vacation get? For starters, Patricia's domineering, emotionally distant mother sends her to her cousins' far-off cottage for the summer. Patricia has never met her cousins before, and her shyness and lack of cottage savvy only increase her awkwardness. Her cousins, led by the insufferable Kelly, tease her constantly before shunning her altogether. Then something amazing happens. During a hot and lonely afternoon, Patricia uncovers an old watch hidden beneath the floorboards. Upon winding it, she is stunned to find herself 35 summers in the past, eavesdropping on another 12-year-old--her own mother. Patricia and her watch become "ghosts from the future" in a mirror world where the inhabitants of the present are held up to their earlier selves, at once both familiar and strange.
The complexity of Patricia's adventure is spun through a series of events that seem almost matter-of-fact on the surface, while barely containing time's shimmering elasticity. The dialogue is beautifully nuanced, and the characters are described in small, telling phrases: Patricia's mother, Ruth, for instance, paddles the canoe "with a bored efficiency." A Handful of Time has the depth and sophistication of an adult novel yet always stays true to the fleeting world of childhood. Honoured as Book of the Year for Children by the Canadian Library Association, it is highly recommended. (Ages 10 to 14) --Martha Johnson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Grade 5-8 An important summer in the life of 12-year-old Patricia Potter involves a trip back in time for her to observe her mother, Ruth, in her mother's twelfth year. While her parents, both successful career people in Toronto, work out a separation, Patricia is sent off to her aunt's lake cottage in Alberta. Raised by fashionable and undemonstrative parents, Patricia feels out of place in the company of her rough-and-tumble cousins. Her escape comes when she discovers an old watch engraved to her grandmother, Patricia. When she winds up the watch she becomes an invisible observer to the happenings that took place in her mother's family 35 years ago. Patricia goes back and forth in time, observing her mother's unhappy childhood, and she decides to give her mother another chance, knowing what she does about the past. Although the novel is about two generations of mother-daughter relationships, all readers see of the grown-up mothers, Ruth and Nan, is from the perspective of a child. Hence, both appear as wooden and flat characters. Although the watch device is a handy one to allow the girl a glimpse of the past, there is not much explanation as to how or why the watch possesses this power. Science fiction fans may be disappointed, but the book will show adolescents how relationships in the present are often locked into patterns of the past, and that a discovery of one's family often reveals much about oneself. Yvonne A. Frey, Peoria Public Library, Ill.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A Handful of Time was one of the most interesting, awesome books I have ever read by the best author! Read morePublished on Dec 8 2000 by Lauren
You will never look at an old watch the same way again. Read this book: this author is amazing, a page turner and characters you will care about. Well done (again) Kit Pearson!Published on June 1 2000