Cruise, Robin. The Top-Secret Journal of Fiona Claire Jardin. Harcourt Brace, 1998. ISBN 0- 15-201383-0. $13.00. 160 pp. B 5+ FI Reviewed by Wendy Bishop Cruise’s first book, The Top-Secret Journal of Fiona Claire Jardin, is a useful book for children and adults to understand divorce from a ten year old’s perspective. In Fiona’s words, divorce is trying to do a big, hard jigsaw puzzle with 1,000 pieces, and the one piece you need to finish the puzzle is missing. Fiona finds one good thing about keeping a journal: she won’t have to see John Robert, her therapist, as often. After a few entries, Fiona hates her journal just as much as she hates seeing John Robert. It doesn’t matter how much I write “. nothing ever changes. Fiona feels all the emotions of a typical ten year old from anger ( I wanted to smash something that Mom loves, that Dad loves ) to sadness ( I knew that once I started [crying] I wouldn’t be able to stop “ Fiona feels embarrassed and doesn’t want everyone to know her parents are divorced. She hates Bianca’s parents because they are too mushy. The frustration is almost more than she can bear when Mom [asks] me to remind Dad about the check for piano lessons when I talk to him tonight. She appreciates John Robert for his timely advice, Sam and I are not messengers “. if Mom and Dad need to talk, that’s their business. To ease her pain, Fiona begins to focus on others, like her best friend, whose mother spends no time with her, or her classmate, who will never see her father again because he’s dead. Fiona begins to heal with the recognition that things could be worse. At least her parents are still alive and spend time with her. Living in two separate households, Fiona begins to see her parents’ differences. Mom doesn’t know about fun. She’d rather be a grouch and worry about money all the time.” Dad doesn’t feel like he’s doing his job unless he makes me and Sam look words up in the dictionary at least once a day.” Mom loves science fiction and dreams about the future.” Dad loves history and where you’ve been. Fiona just likes to know where she is. In the end, Fiona loves her journal and can see how it has helped her. If I’m really mad when I start writing stuff down, by the time I’m done, I’m not so mad. Through the help of her journal, Fiona finds that indeed her situation does not change but something else has--Fiona. I would recommend this book for its realism and continuity.
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