Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

A Solitary Blue explores the psychological damage inflicted upon an only child by deficient parents. Spanning approximately ten years, the novel begins when seven-year-old Jeff Greene comes home from school one day to find a note from his mother, Melody, explaining that she has left him to continue her serious social work. Abandoned by the mother that he adores and fearful of losing his remaining parent, Jeff withdraws. Over a period of four years, Jeff and his father, the Professor, assume an orderly and mirthless routine, broken only by the occasional visits of the Professor’s colleague, Brother Thomas. An invitation to spend the summer in Charleston with his mother promises to change everything.

The summer is a magical one for Jeff. He is captivated by his mother’s warm, spontaneous charm and by the music that she plays on the guitar. After a few days, however, Melody is again busy with her “causes.” Jeff is largely left to fend for himself until the end of the summer, when Melody exchanges his airline ticket for a bus ticket and sends him back to Baltimore without any traveling money. Nevertheless, Jeff adores his mother so much that he overlooks her self-centered behavior.

In Baltimore for another school year, Jeff writes Melody numerous letters, to which he receives no reply. Her rejection is softened somewhat by the friendship of Brother Thomas, who provides guidance and good humor to both Jeff and the Professor. In his...

(The entire section is 485 words.)