ADAM ZIGZAG by Barbara Barrie


Age Range: 10 - 14
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 The author of Lone Star (1990), who's also an award-winning actress, describes a dyslexic's troubles and their eventual resolution in a narrative that alert readers will suspect is largely autobiographical. Though Adam is bright and has numerous gifts, his learning problems lead to academic failures and the pain of being thought lazy by insensitive teachers. His parents are supportive but, both involved in theater, otherwise engaged; older sister Caroline, who inherited a milder dyslexia from their mother, justly feels that Adam gets more than his share of attention. Schools are changed and tutors and counselors engaged with varying success; with junior high comes independence and dubious friends purveying escape through drugs, one of whom steals some things from the family's Manhattan apartment. This, plus a bad trip when Adam adds acid to his established pot habit (the joints are rolled on Zigzag brand paper), jolts him into therapy and also into accepting what seems to be the right school at last. All this is typical of boys like Adam, and too smoothly told to fall into the trap of sounding like a case study; but the sequence of events never quite evolves into a plot, while--though Adam's and Caroline's first-person voices alternate--the underlying insights seem more parental. Still, an honest and empathetic portrayal of a not uncommon set of pressures and responses. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-31172-9
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994