Ann is a skillful storyteller. Her sensitivity to minute details and sensations is the result of a life spent watching out for Adele’s volatile moods and actions. Hers is the literary voice of the novel, even though it is her mother who claims to be writing a book. Ann has a lyrical descriptive style and represents her emotions in intriguing metaphors. Her imagination has grown powerful because it is her method of escape from and defense against Adele.
Ann portrays herself as a victim of Adele’s insanity. Traumatic events such as being abandoned along the roadside and having her mother threaten suicide have conditioned Ann to fear the very thing that would relieve her—separating from Adele. This love/hate relationship twists the young Ann. She exhibits signs of sexual confusion, manipulating other children into posing for nude photographs, and of moral uncertainty, growing accustomed to dishonesty, and even theft, as a survival mechanism. Ann does survive, however, and after escaping to college in the East, she begins to straighten herself out and experience personal fulfillment. She also develops an ability to appreciate her mother’s unique and impressive traits and to forgive the mistreatment she suffered as a child.
Adele is capable of both compassion and cruelty. She is an unpredictable force that can suddenly change the lives of those around her. Her energy drives the novel. Although in her chaotic younger years Adele causes Ann...
(The entire section is 518 words.)