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A smooth and involving examination of a compelling problem, with a satisfying, if unrealistic, ending. When their parents tell them that they are getting a divorce, Jenny, 6, promptly shuts herself in her toy box, refusing to come out; and Chris, 15, bewildered and frustrated by his parents' decision, is suddenly struck by the meaning of the Bill of Rights. On the theory that he and his sister have rights neglected in their parents' decision, he engages the services of Corelli, a part-time lawyer who distrusts a legal system that prizes the rules over truth. Together, they delay the divorce by persuading the court to consider the children necessary parties in the decision. In the final courtroom scene, Chris and Corelli lose the battle but win the war as his parents reconcile. Well and slickly done, with several memorable characters, realistic and funny dialogue, and a strong sense of the injustices visited upon children in divorce. Still, Chris' parents are little more than stick figures, and the ending is a little too manipulative and pat. Older children and teens, however, will probably enjoy Chris' decision to take control instead of giving up, and find the story fast-paced and gratifying.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Harper & Row