Jewish Values: Are You Alone On Purpose?

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204 p.
A paperback reprint of a novel first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1994, this is an unusually perceptive portrayal of family tensions and teen-age angst. Alison and Harry, the two main characters, could not be more different on the surface but they have both learned to hide their feelings from just about everybody. Harry compensates by being an obnoxious bully and Alison lives in books. When Harry is badly injured and confined to a wheelchair, Alison overcomes her dislike of him and visits him in his room while her autistic brother is tutored for his Bar Mitzvah by Harry's father, a rabbi. Mutual dislike turns to understanding and understanding turns to first love as the two teens learn to express their emotions and understand themselves and their families a little better. Characters are drawn with nuance and the credible plot is smoothly interwoven with the theme.
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Sydney Taylor Winner: