A PLACE CALLED UGLY by Avi

A PLACE CALLED UGLY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fourteen-year-old Owen, who has made many moves with his paents and is not looking forward to starting yet another school this fall, loves the beach cabin where he and his parents have spent the last three weeks of summer for ten years. This year, toward the end of their stay, he learns that the place will be tom down to make room for a hotel. And so when his parents prepare to leave on Labor Day, he leaves them a note, hides, and stays on to save the cabin. He presents his case to the rich woman who owns the property; is attacked by a trio of local toughs (to them, the hotel means jobs); and is befriended by the younger sister of one of them. As a defiant gesture, he paints the house ha garish colors, but in the end he makes a more dramatic move, blowing the house up so that at least he and not the bulldozer will finish it off. Meanwhile he acquires some sensitivity to the year-rounders' position, but that is peripheral. Interspersed with the action are Owen's memories from summers past--and those, he realizes in the end, will outlive the house. But neither they nor the story have much force or dimension as fiction. Owen's cause is less than compelling to readers, yet Avi asks us to take the struggle and the two-dimensional characters as seriously as Owen does.
Pub Date: March 1st, 1981
ISBN: 0380724235
Page count: 148pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1981




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