Picks and Pans Review: We Are All Welcome Here

updated 04/10/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/10/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Elizabeth Berg


Rising above its sugary title and stock 1964 Mississippi setting, Berg's latest is the moving story of young teen Diana Dunn, her polio-stricken mother, Paige, and their African-American housekeeper Peacie in a world that seems determined to exclude them. With the Civil Rights movement thrumming in the background, Diana wanders through the zone between childhood games and adolescent changes, while Paige and Peacie begin to address their own needs after so many years of focusing on Diana's. Deftly told, this tale turns on a painful, liberating transition that allows each character to come wholly and appealingly alive on the page.

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For an interview with Marti Leimbach, go to www.people.com/autism

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