Friday's Child by Kylie Brant
(Silh. Int. Mom. #862, $4.24, PG) ISBN 0-373-07861-5
***
"Friday's child is loving and giving while Saturday's child works for a living," or so says the old adage. If the hero's last name intentionally referenced this saying, then Kylie Brant makes a nice point in this book. This novel addresses the rarely fictionalized issue of ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Brant emphasizes the fact that although this condition often requires medication and always requires different teaching methods and forms of discipline, these children nonetheless share all the positive attributes of non-affected children.

First grader Chloe Friday is nearing the end of the school year. Recently, Chloe has come to live with her father Michael Friday a business tycoon par excellence. (Chloe's mother decided that she'd had enough of Chloe and motherhood and gave Michael custody of Chloe.)

Kate Rose is the first grade teacher at the prestigious academy Chloe attends. With five years experience, Kate has the confidence and expertise necessary to identify learning disabled children. She is outraged that Michael has ignored her requests for parent-teacher conferences so she corners him in his office. Her news is not pleasant, as she is there to advise Michael to take Chloe to a doctor to determine whether or not she is ADD and if so, whether or not medication is indicated.

Now what parent wants to hear this? Michael is furious, non-believing and in total denial. Because of his own troubled childhood, Michael forces himself to calm down enough to stop himself from threatening to "have Kate's job". Since he really is a loving father, he starts investigating the condition. This, of course, brings him into contact with Kate.

Kate is a product of almost the same type of a dysfunctional family. She grew up in West Virginia, the oldest of nine children in an impoverished family ruled by a dictatorial father. She is not eager to establish a relationship with anyone, which pretty much describes Michael's attitude as well.

The author skillfully depicts the clinical side of ADHD as it effects classroom behavior, and chronicles the painful changes in the attitude of a parent who has a child identified with this disorder. However, I was left wondering if there would not be more behavioral manifestations at home than are described in Friday's Child.

As for the romance: I only wish that Kate and Michael's romance had been handled as memorably and convincingly as the ADHD portion of the book.

--Thea Davis


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