PAUL'S KITE by Alison Morgan


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An altogether superior sequel to All Kinds of Prickles (1980). Paul Evans, eleven, has just come to London from Wales to stay with--perhaps live with--the mother who abandoned him as a babe. She has sent a friend, lan, to fetch him from the station to her modeling job, then sent Paul himself out to pass the afternoon. So Paul, proudly making a circuit of one small section of the city, begins the conquest of London that will occupy his empty days, his emptied life. His father, long gone, is presumed dead; his grandfather, who raised him, recently died; his Auntie Jean and Uncle William, who took him in, are headed for Spain with cousin Johanna, the one person Paul feels close to. His pet goat, Davy, had to be destroyed: there was no place for him in Uncle William's ""neat suburban garden."" (But Uncle William, who may be having some troubles of his own, is good to Paul's hedgehog, Prickles.) As for his offhand, role-playing mother, her absence is a boon. But: might he have to live like this forever? Auntie Jean calls--they're not going to Spain, Johanna wants to visit and see London. Paul unburdens himself to Johanna, prepares a meal for the two of them, takes her to the Monopoly game places (Picadilly, etc.) he's located; and when he loses his last baby tooth, Johanna leaves her lucky coin button under his pillow. The resolution will come only after an accident to Johanna and Uncle William's disclosure--directly to Paul--that he's absconded funds, will plead guilty and go to jail. It's the defreezing of Uncle William that completes Paul's defreezing; naturally, he'll have to go back with Johanna and Auntie Jean. Some plot contrivance, yes, but no emotional manipulation: what is evoked here is not pity or compassion, but understanding and regret. Paul's kite, rising from Hyde Park with an old woman's aid (to be seen by Johanna from her hospital window), is actually a fillip: a symbolic, cinematic end.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum