Keely, 12, and her brother Patrick, 13, are rivals given to
challenging, often dangerous, dares but also "Siamese twins, joined
at the mind." When polio strikes (it's 1946) and the active boy is
left not only without movement but deeply despondent, Keely also
finds her world profoundly altered. Her sympathy for Patrick is
believably tempered with impatience with his negativism and her own
discomfort with the disruption of their household. Warmhearted
nurse Peggy's good sense is a first step on the way to partial
recovery, and Keely first sparks Patrick's interest with a
far-fetched plan to find Peggy's fiance, missing and presumed dead
in WW II. But it's Keely's imagination, guile, and persistence - in
the face of Patrick's continuing opposition - that lead to finding
new, understanding friends and getting him into a wheelchair and
out of the house. Still, Patrick's real healing begins only after
he attempts suicide, realizes how glad he is that he failed, and
begins to make the physical and emotional efforts needed for a
productive life. It's not easy, nor simplistically presented:
Patrick's bitter despair is as graphically evoked as feisty Keely's
more humorous pratfalls and adolescent angst. Winner of Canada's
Governor General's Award: a fine first novel with an intense,
beautifully developed sibling relationship. (Kirkus Reviews)
12 year-old Keely Connor and her older broth er Patrick are
inseparable. But their lives are devastated w hen Patrick contracts
polio. Keely feels that this is too mu ch for her to cope with, but
gradually finds the strength to help Patrick '
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