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Mind's Eye

by Paul Fleischman

Published by Henry Holt, 1999
108 pages
ISBN: 0-8050-6314-5

Age 14 and older

Written as dialogue in play form, Paul Fleischman's latest novel is a riveting examination of the power of the imagination. Paralyzed in an accident, sixteen-year-old Courtney feels like a prisoner in her own body, and in the nursing home where her stepfather has recently dumped her. Understandably depressed, she wants nothing more than to be left alone. But Courtney's roommate has other ideas. Elva is 88, with a frail body but a mind that is sharp and excitable. The former teacher revels in poetry and literature that she recites from memory, since her eyes are too poor to read. Her enthusiasm for literature, and for life, is lost on Courtney, but Elva is relentless. Courtney reluctantly agrees to help Elva play a game from her childhood—a game that takes place entirely in the imagination. Using an old, detailed travel guide from which Courtney reads, the two of them embark on a journey to Italy—a journey of the mind that grows increasingly real for Courtney, whose demons begin to reveal themselves in the action of the narrative that she and Elva are creating. But the game is also one that offers Courtney the opportunity to see that her future may not be as hopeless as she thinks—possibility lies in the power of her mind. Teens may be reluctant to pick up this book on their own, but the format, the rich characters and literary elements, and an ending that is open to interpretation make it a one that has great potential for use in the classroom or other group settings. CCBC categories: Fiction for Teenagers (MS; Jan 3) ©1999 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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