I Stay Near You : One Story in Three

Written by M.E.Kerr
Review by Susan Higginbotham


I Stay Near You, a reissue of a 1997 paperback, is a three-generation saga set in a small upstate New York town that begins in the 1940s with a rich boy-poor girl romance and ends in the 1980s. Its characters are bound together by an inscribed ring passed from father to son, a mansion named Cake, and a history of ill-fated love and family tragedy.

I first read M. E. Kerr’s young adult novels in the 1970s, when I was a member of that target audience, and I was pleased to find that Kerr’s ear for dialogue and eye for human foibles have grown no less sharp over the years. My only complaint was that the last third of the book, dealing with the troubled relationship between a teenage boy and his absentee rock-star father, seemed at times to tread all-too-familiar dysfunctional family ground. It’s a minor complaint, however, about a novel that beautifully reminds us how the past continues into the present. Ages 14 and up.