Little, Brown, Feb 2001, 13.95, 246 pp.
Only four years old, Bo knows his African-American father Kamon died before he was born. Now as he dangles upside down in the car wreck, it appears to him that his white mother Jenny left him too. His paternal grandparents have always been there for Bo, cherishing and loving him. On the other hand, his maternal grandparents have not seen him since he was born, shunning him as a pariah.
However, when the hospital initially errs by initially missing the fact that the child suffers from a ruptured spleen, suddenly his white grandparents file for guardianship. Jenny's father sees Bo as a means to making millions in a negligence suit against the hospital. He wins guardianship though Bo's Black grandparents have always been there for him and already given him a new loving home. However, Bo quickly learns how much Eddie detests him as the malevolent treatment turns uglier and uglier.
MAKE BELIEVE may be the best book of this year. The story line is believable and emotionally taut and complex. The story line grips the reader from the very beginning when an injured frightened little boy wonders what he did to cause his mommy to go away. The characters are well written and their motives slowly surface so that the reader realizes how complex each key player truly is. Anyone who relishes a profound relationship novel will want to read Joanna Scott's latest story and some of her previous works such as THE MANIKIN.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner