Zibby Oneal

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Linda R. Silver

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 152

[The Language of Goldfish] is an intelligent, meticulously crafted book on a theme that, though fascinating to young people, has not been well handled in YA novels. Thirteen-year-old Carrie, the middle child in an affluent and happy family, is full of fears about herself and her relations with other people. More precisely, she is afraid of becoming a sexual being—although the underlying sexual basis for her mental breakdown is suggested rather than stated…. Why she is so afraid is not explained. The carefully selected, precise details of Carrie's life, including realistic and compassionate character portrayals, establish a tension between external reality and the chaos of Carrie's mind. A serious but not dismal book, enlivened by flashes of humor, this draws out readers' empathetic response and enlarges understanding. It is remarkably good writing!

Linda R. Silver, in a review of "The Language of Goldfish," in School Library Journal, Vol. 26, No. 6, February, 1980, p. 70.

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