A Solitary Blue is an important, realistic novel that deals with the complex problems of family relationships. With a keen yet sympathetic eye, Cynthia Voigt looks at the dysfunctional Greene family: a timid and remote father, a self-centered and restless mother, and a confused and lonely son. The theme of abandonment drives this novel, but subthemes stress the value of solitude, commitment, friendship, and resilience. A Solitary Blue is significant for young adult readers because it confronts vital issues, such as independence, academic achievement, and mental illness; it is a memorable book because of Voigt’s precise and powerful writing.
Abandonment is a frequent theme in young adult literature. Formula fiction regularly gets rid of the parents so that the young person will be the focus of all the action and accomplishments of the book; unlike such formula fiction, A Solitary Blue explores in depth the effects of abandonment, both profound and subtle, on the development of Jeff Greene and his interaction with his parents. As Jeff grows and gains self-reliance, his perceptions of his parents also sharpen. He realizes that Melody deserves neither the adoration that he felt as a young child nor the contempt that he felt five years later when she abandoned him a second time to follow her own whims. “Poor Melody,” he thinks to himself with more compassion than anger. Jeff also changes his perception of his father, appreciating the Professor’s intelligence and commitment. Gradually, as Jeff comes to value him more, his father’s inner qualities surface to reveal a kind and...
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