Good-bye and Keep Cold Critical Context - Essay

Jenny Davis

Critical Context

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Good-bye and Keep Cold was Jenny Davis’ first novel, and it is a hallmark treatment of a dysfunctional family. Many psychologically realistic young adult stories allow the problem to supersede the plot or provide an unrealistic happy ending. In this novel, real problems are faced head on, and the ambiguous ending offers both hope and despair.

Davis has published other books for young adults. In Sex Education (1988), a class project about caring for someone has disastrous consequences for two students when they take on a young pregnant girl as their assignment. In Checking on the Moon (1991), the protagonist helps her grandmother run a coffee shop in a dangerous section of Pittsburgh. When her brother’s girlfriend is raped, the community works together to reclaim its neighborhood. Davis, who also writes short stories and poems, says that “a good deal of what I write is hope on paper.”

This is Davis’ gift to the young reader. Her protagonists must overcome terrible odds, but those who persevere and have valor will emerge victorious and whole. She is not afraid to treat tough subjects and to let her readers work through the challenges facing their generation, yet she is sensitive enough always to offer them hope for the future.