State and Provincial Reading Lists:
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1991)
In another gripping novel about a boy forced to confront his values, the author of On My Honor (Newbery Honor, 1987) examines the role of guns in the imagination of a troubled youth. Michael has not seen his father, Bert, since Bert left the family farm eight years ago. Though Mom's new husband--pleasant but taciturn Dave--has adopted him, Michael has always resented Dave and treasured his memories of Bert, especially of their hunting together. Reluctantly, Dave and Mom give Michael a gun for his 13th birthday--a gun he promptly misuses, and loses, by letting his little sister shoot it. At the same time, Bert invites Michael to visit: he's now a white-water rafting guide in Colorado. Michael sets out full of hopes for a man-to-man relationship, but Bert doesn't match his fantasies: he's not tall; his trailer is cramped and uncomfortable; he's a rolling stone who still doesn't make his son the center of his world. Ironically, it's his macho qualities that Michael finds hardest to bear--especially during a terrifying raft trip. In the end, Michael goes home and finally turns to Dave--but not before he finds his confiscated gun and experiences the kind of impotent, disillusioned rage that can make a person turn a gun against others, or against himself. Bauer subtly modulates Michael's changing feelings--as he discovers who Bert really is, recollects the bitter truth about that long-ago deer hunt, and is finally able to integrate what he has learned so that he can throw down the gun--for a thoughtful, richly provocative story. 1991, Clarion/Houghton Mifflin, $13.95. Starred Review. © 1991 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
In this dramatic coming-of-age novel, 13-year-old Michael is reunited with his father, who walked out eight years before. The boy has clung loyally to his memories ever since, and wants to find that his father can acknowledge him for himself. But Dad lacks the self-acceptance necessary to do even that. After drifting from place to place, Dad now leads white-water rafting trips; he decides to toughen up his son and brutally dumps him from a raft. Michael returns to his family's Minnesota dairy farm, realizing he requires his quiet but reliable stepfather more than he does his exciting, wandering dad. Michael's anger, neediness and determination come out strongly in his intense, sometimes painful interactions with his family. Though the ending is somewhat rushed, the dynamic rafting scenes and Michael's struggles make for engrossing reading. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.B3262 Fac 1991