You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on

This one is about: Before the Lark

(c) 1996 Wide Smiles
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Author: Arlene Bennett Brown
Publisher: Antheneum
866 Third Avenue, NY, NY 10022
cost: $12

Reviewed by Sur Wheeler

This is possibly the only historical novel in existence that features a heroine with a cleft lip.

Twelve-year-old Jocey lives a humiliating life with her grandmother in 1888 Kansas City. She sees an anticipated trip West as the answer to her problems. On the farm, she thinks, she will be able to hide. Of course, that's impossible. She is discovered by a thoughtful boy and a traveling salesman, both of whom change her life.

Ms. Brown covers issues relevant to any young person - guilt, rejection, parental relationships, acceptance. It may not be easy for you to excuse Ms. Brown for using the term, "harelip", but remember, though, that was probably the term that was used at the time of the story.

Before the Lark may or may not be in your local library. It is worth looking up, maybe with the help of inter-library loan. It is especially good to find if you know a girl age 10-14 who was born with a cleft.

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