Paper Faces

Paper Faces

  • Hardback
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Set immediately after World War II, this is the story of how a young girl and her mother cope with the problems of peace, particularly the unexpected return of the girl's father. The author has also written "The Bus People".show more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 121 pages
  • 130 x 210mm | 265g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 0192716549
  • 9780192716545

Review Text

From the author of Bus People (1992), another perceptive, unsentimental depiction of a child emotionally abandoned by her parents. Gloria, Dot's mum, isn't evil; but she's very young, thoughtless, and overwhelmed. Since Anderson skillfully maintains Dot's viewpoint, Gloria's troubles are poignantly enigmatic, to be interpreted as if by a six-year-old who's been taught nothing but who's absorbed the slogans and fears rife in WW II London: not until the end do we know that Dot's dad, traumatized by the military, has been in an asylum; and we never learn whether Gloria's absences, when she leaves Dot in the care of a landlady of Dickensian meanness, are only selfish, or worse. When "Baby," Dot's brother, dies in hospital, no one tells Dot what's really happened, so when she falls ill and goes to the same hospital she has real reason to be frightened; even losing her first tooth is totally unexpected and alarming. There are two idyllic interludes in her bleak existence: Gloria has a friend in the country, a wholesome and compassionate woman who has taken her in before; visits on her farm expand Dot's horizons (she even learns to read there) and help her form a resolve; and when Dad comes home, though he's vacant and withdrawn, Dot clings to the hope that she and her parents will become a real family. A spare, wonderfully evocative picture of Britain in the hard times following the war - and of one small survivor creating her own life, from virtually nothing. (Kirkus Reviews)show more