From Library Journal
Grade 6-8-Everything seems different as 14-year-old Sylvie Marchione moves toward her junior high graduation. Since her parents' divorce, her father doesn't seem to have time for her and her mother is becoming more and more unpredictable. From the opening scene, when Sylvie discovers her mother poised on a 10th-floor balcony railing, to her hospitalization at the end, this description of the effects of rapid Alzheimer's degeneration on a relatively young woman and her family grips readers in horrified fascination. Sylvie's first response is denial, but as her mother's behavior becomes increasingly bizarre, she accepts the support of a neighbor. A new boy at school has a similarly afflicted grandmother; he and his family offer information and practical help, and Sylvie's father returns to make financial arrangements and relieve her of some supervisory duties. While all this is going on, the girl neglects her friend Marissa, the eldest in a family with an alcoholic and physically abusive mother. Marissa's disintegrating home situation is not sufficiently explored and is, perhaps, needlessly dramatic as a foil for the protagonist's problems. However, their reconciliation is a sign that Sylvie's own life can go forward.Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
In this fairly convincing portrait of a teenager coping with her mother's onset of Alzheimer's disease, Sylvie, 14, has always been an excellent student, even through her parents' divorce. Her grades begin to slip, however, as her beautiful, talented mother, Marianne, starts behaving in dangerously crazy ways. She can't tell the time, has forgotten how to cook, and their usually fastidious apartment has grown filthy. The book opens on the day Sylvie finds Marianne perched high on the balcony of their tenth-floor Winnipeg apartment, apparently ready to jump. Sylvie thereafter attempts to cope on her own, ignoring school, her piano lessons, and her best friend, Marissa, who is coping with her own abusive, alcoholic mother. Angry and embarrassed, Sylvie allows an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Rathbone, to help; discovers a sympathetic listener in a schoolmate, Paul; and finds that her father is more than willing to rejoin his family as they learn more about Marianne's diagnosis. Sylvie's initial confusion is authentic, and often heart-stopping; Moore makes vivid how much of a stranger Marianne becomes to her daughter. Less coherently limned are Sylvie's external reactions. While there are hints that she is dressing provocatively because of her mother's illness, the connection never becomes clear, while her early reliance on Mrs. Rathbone's interference is not in line with the rest of her furtive behavior. (Fiction. 11-13) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.