"Z.A.P., ZOE, AND THE MUSKETEERS" by Athena V. Lord


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This third Z.A.P. and Zoe episode takes place in the summer of 1941, when Zachary Athanasius Poulos is turning 13. (Zach, little sister Zoe, and friends Abe and Patty are the ""Four Musketeers"" since everyone's name begins with the initials Z, A, or P). Son of Greek immigrants but eager to live ""like a real and regular American boy,"" Zach works in the family luncheonette and relishes free time with the Musketeers and other buddies--except when they fall for Wylie Bowen's unscrupulous schemes. Zach, a quick thinker, gets his friends out of trouble but sometimes deliberately provokes it, too. When Louie is called a ""dago"" and ""enemy"" by toughs, Zach not only speaks up but accepts a challenge to an arm-wrestling contest. To his surprise, he wins. Physically stronger than he realizes, Zach also derives strength from his ""Greek-American"" heritage. In depicting a closely knit Greek family caught up in changing times, Lord conveys a kaleidoscopic sense of personal, social, and global uncertainty. But her narrative frequently falters: two characters suddenly drop out halfway; the Four Musketeers often seem less significant than Zach's other friends; and, in a tacked-on last chapter, the point of view changes completely. Some good values here, but a very uneven performance.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1992
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Macmillan