Blue Hen, Apr 2002, 23.95, 336 pp.
Their father abandoned them years ago and now their compliant mother is dying forcing the recalcitrant younger of the siblings, teenage Molly to move into the home of her older sister the manipulative Amanda. Except for economics, Molly hates this scenario, as she cannot forgive Amanda for her role in abetting their father in his psychological power games when he lived with them. Worse to Molly is Amanda is a chip off the old block as she needs to dominate their relationship.
The sisters quickly find it easier to lie and pretend an understanding rather than any degree of honesty between them. This world of fabrication is fine to both Molly and Amanda until the seventeen-year old obsesses over her sibling's boy friend. Pondering her past when her home was allegedly a happy place to live, Molly sees nightmares and games families play turning her further into a rebel without a cause with no allies not even her friends.
Chicago has probably never looked as scary as it is seen through the eyes of Molly, a deep character whose psychological woes are the centerpiece of this strong drama. IN MY SISTER'S COUNTRY is as astute of a psychological tale as a reader will find as Lise Haines takes the audience inside to the core of Molly and Amanda who see the same event relatively differently. Fans of taut character studies will relish Ms. Haine's triumphant look at a dysfunctional relationship, but the catch is that this is no joyful trek to the Central Park duck ponds.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner