STRANGER IN DADLAND by Amy Goldman Koss

STRANGER IN DADLAND

Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this poignant, witty novel, Koss turns her attention away from girls and girl groups (The Girls, 2000) to offer some fresh insights about fathers and sons. Twelve-year-old John is on his way to California for his annual one-week visit with his divorced dad. Although his father has historically kept John at arm's length by refusing to make time in his busy schedule to focus on him, John hopes that this time things will finally change. But after accompanying his father on a date and spending a day cooling his heels in various office lobbies while his dad attends business meetings, John comes to the sad realization that the week he looks forward to every year is, from his father's point of view, "nothing special." Luckily, insight from a delightfully off-center neighbor boy, coupled with a rollerblading accident that leaves John's dad temporarily incapacitated, gives John the much-needed opportunity to begin to connect with his father. It may be true that the death of John's dog seems beside the point, the rollerblading mishap feels dramatically forced and the transformation of John's father from completely closed to, if not warm and fuzzy, at least genuine and fatherly, is a little too sudden to be credible. Still, it is counterbalanced by the deftness of the writing and the humor and charm of the first-person narrative. But it's the fact that the reader so badly wants for John what he wants for himself that makes this book such a winning creation.(Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8037-2563-9
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2001




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