Book Reviews of December Stillness

December Stillness
December Stillness
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
ISBN-13: 9780899197586
ISBN-10: 0899197582
Publication Date: 10/1988
Pages: 181
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

5 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Clarion Books
Book Type: Hardcover
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Grade 6-9 There are two climactic scenes in Hahn's new novel: one in which a homeless man is killed in a traffic accident after being barred from the library; and a powerful, moving, and convincing chapter set at the Vietnam War Memorial, in which the protagonist's father finally comes to grips with his war experiences. Yet there is no clear focus to the novel, and no direction to any of the myriad other issues that Hahn tackles: adolescent angst, individuality and conformity, the homeless, Vietnam veterans, library policies on vagrants, and more. None get the treatment that they deserve, and the story suffers as it meanders. An underachieving, show-off type high-school freshman who is trying to carve a niche for herself among her friends and her family, Kelly is concerned for a homeless, possibly deranged man whose troubles are a result of his experiences in Vietnam. This teen, who does well in an honors English class but almost fails other academic subjects and finds refuge in the children's section of the library, who abhors the shallowness of her friends' interests but acts smart alecky to gain their approval, comes across as being more inconsistent than three dimensional.