Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Katrin, who wants to be a writer, remembers growing up in San Francisco in her Norwegian American family. In addition to her father, mother, brother, and sisters, there are a boarder, Mr. Hyde, who reads to the family each night from the classics; Katrin’s three aunts, who visit often; and Uncle Chris, who travels and has a reputation for drinking, for his temper, and for living with a woman to whom he is not married.

Katrin’s first memory is how the family would sit at the kitchen table every Saturday night and count the money in the “Little Bank,” always hoping that they would not have to go to “Big Bank” to get more. Mr. Hyde returns home and reads to the family. The next day, Uncle Chris arrives; he has recently taken Aunt Jenny’s boy, Arne, to the hospital for a knee operation, and when he finds that Katrin’s sister Dagmar is sick, he takes her to the hospital too. After Dagmar’s operation, the hospital will not let Katrin’s mother, Marta, in to see her for twenty-four hours, so she pretends that she is cleaning the floors in order to visit Dagmar. Mr. Hyde comes home to say that he must depart immediately, and he gives them a check for his past rent. Aunt Jenny comes in and says that Mr. Hyde has been cashing checks all over the neighborhood and that he does not even have an account. Because Mr. Hyde also left all of his books for the family, Marta insists that he owed them nothing.

As graduation and the school play...

(The entire section is 533 words.)