Zibby Oneal

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 142

In [The Language of Goldfish], a perceptive novel which avoids clichés and exaggeration, evocative images create a sense of Carrie's inner experiences: the gaps in her consciousness, her whirling terror, and her longing for a safe place—a place like the island in the goldfish pond, a sanctuary of childhood. With strong characters, convincing scenes, and accurate, consistent dialogue, the author explores Carrie's journey and recovery and the remoteness of her affluent family. The story is not suddenly dramatic; Carrie's illness moves in an unpredictable, gradual downward spiral until the girl begins a cautious, tentative rebuilding of her life. Carefully crafted with delicacy and control, the book presents a moving portrait of a vulnerable child on the brink of young adulthood.

Christine McDonnell, in a review of "The Language of Goldfish," in The Horn Book Magazine, Vol. LVI, No. 4, August, 1980, p. 416.

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