But Laurie is plucky and keeps looking for reasons to be happy, including the new friend they make who shares a secret puppy with her. Sadly, the new friend has some mysterious disease that keeps him back in the hospital for operations, and the secret puppy chews his rope and comes bounding up to stress out mom. But don't give up! Laurie's step brother knows that it is just not right for an adult to beat a child with a poker, so he helps them all head for his grandmother's house. She's sensible, so mom is talked into going for counseling, and and soon as she is all better, the kids will go home. Police involvement not necessary.
Reading this as a kid, I'd appreciate the child centered options and solutions; Roberts has written many books that I enjoy. As an adult, I was appalled at how hard it was for Laurie to get help, and how easily the fix was presented. I read it as much as a sign of how attitudes have changed as for itself. This is my fifth chapter book for the Shelf Discovery Challenge. C+