Annie's Monster

Barbara Corcoran

Annie's Monster cover



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School Annie MacDougal, 13, is the oldest of four children. Their father is an austere, Oxford-educated parish priest; their mother, much younger, is a former hippie. When Flanagan, a huge Irish wolfhound pup, joins the family, he changes their lives. On a romp through the untended local arboretum, he leads Annie to a sick homeless woman who had been dismissed from an overcrowded mental hospital. She shares her secret with her brother Robert, who seeks help from Father Ben, the young curate whom kids adore but whose street-smart ideas constantly shock adults. Mrs. MacDougal also comes to the rescue and finally even Annie's father proves to be an ally. Meanwhile Flanagan, by his monstrous size alone, frightens the villagers, precipitating vicious front-page news stories and an argument at a town meeting. Corcoran's story, written in a brisk upbeat style, successfully continues her trademark theme of consideration for people in adverse circumstances, buffeted by a generally uncomprehending public. Even though peripheral characters are superficially stereotyped, the main personalities come across as solid and singularly attractive. Readers, even reluctant ones, will find enjoyment here. --Katharine Bruner, Brown Middle School, Harrison, TN