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Review of "Say Yes"

By Audrey Couloumbis
Putnam, 2002
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jul 30th 2002
Say Yes

This novel for young adults tells the story of 12-year-old Casey who lives in New York City with her stepmother Sylvia.  Casey is an orphan, and Sylvia is not the most reliable of guardians—she runs off with her boyfriend at the start of the book, leaving Casey to look after herself.  She soon befriends Paulie, the 16-year-old foster child of the landlord.  Paulie is also an orphan, and is very used to surviving with no help from adults, but he is all-too-willing to break the law if need be.  Her new friend soon convinces Casey to commit a crime, and she spends the rest of the novel dealing with the consequences of her action.

            The story is well told, and has a real New York City feel to it in its descriptions of neighborhoods and attitudes.  This comes across especially forcefully in the unabridged audiobook read with gusto by Ariadne Meyers.  The reader is quickly swept up by Casey’s abandonment and her efforts to come to terms with her new situation.  She is resourceful but nevertheless makes a number of bad mistakes that place her in real danger.  The novel ends reassuringly without any terrible disaster, and shows that even though people tend to make bad decisions when they are in difficult circumstances, it is normally possible to sustain relationships with those people and to see their good sides.  So it’s a story that encourages open-mindedness and thoughtfulness, without sermonizing or being heavy-handed in its message.  Recommended. 


Link: Publisher’s web page for audiobook with RealAudio excerpt


© 2002 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help foster communication between philosophers, mental health professionals, and the general public.