Go to Homepage   Sue Corbett: 12 Again


Crescent Blues Book ViewsDutton (Hardcover), ISBN 0-525-46899-4
With three kids to care for, a husband to cater to and a difficult job to perform, Bernadette McBride hangs on the edge of a short rope. Then her mother dies suddenly and tragically, Bernadette turns the big 4-Oh, and her husband forgets her birthday. Deep in the throes of a mid-life crisis, Bernadette seeks refuge at her former childhood home. She fills a glass with one of her mother's potions and toasts her own youth. When she awakens, she feels different. She's no longer 40 but 12 again!

Book: Sur Corbett, 12 againIn the spirit of the contemporary fantasy book/Disney movie Freaky Friday, 12 Again chronicles the sometimes humorous, sometimes heartrending, adolescent adventures of a middle-aged woman and her 12-year-old son. Told from the points of view of both Bernadette and her eldest son, Patrick, 12 Again provides an intriguing perspective on parenthood and becoming a young adult. Ironically, while Bernadette takes on the role of a 12-year-old (e.g., getting good grades, wearing the right clothes, trying to make friends and not enemies,) 12-year-old Patrick takes on the role of a mother (helping with meals, caring for his brothers while his father works and trying to find a way to return his family to normal).

12 Again builds on the principles of magical realism and demonstrates that fine lines exist between being young and old, life and death. Although not "true" magical realism (where magic is so real and accepted in a way that it needs no explanation), the magical premise proves interesting. The Irish folklore and helpful tips on dealing with fairies adds another dimension to this story about coming of age.

While Corbett devises a great premise and tells a good story, a certain indifference to character and inconsistencies may nudge the reader at times. Similarly, Bernadette's motivations and actions pose questions, and often seem more adult than young adult. Regardless of these factors, 12 Again qualifies as a book you can't put down until you turn the last page!

Lynne Remick

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