Ouida Sebestyen Denise M. Wilms - Essay

Denise M. Wilms

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Thirteen-year-old Stowe Garrett [of IOU's] shares a close relationship with his mother. It's been the two of them since his father left long ago, and they've forged a peaceful, independent life-style that seems worth their meager day-to-day existence. Annie Garrett has taught her son to be responsible and to think for himself, so when he gets a sudden phone call from relatives informing him that his seriously ill grandfather, who had cut Annie out of his life in grief and anger years ago, wants to see him, he keeps the news to himself…. Stowe eventually decides against visiting his grandfather, but Annie learns of the call and determines to go in hopes of reconciliation. The meeting never happens because Lee Earl Albright dies before they get there, but Stowe realizes that family bonds are stronger than he thinks and that he must seek out and forgive his own father lest a destructive pattern repeat itself. Sebestyen's motherson portrait is a pleasure to watch, and Stowe's sensitivity to the feelings of others springs directly from it. This is a delicate revelation of matters of the heart, and speaks strongly of the powers of love.

Denise M. Wilms, in a review of "IOU's," in Booklist, Vol. 78, No. 15, April 1, 1982, p. 1023.