PRISONERS AT THE KITCHEN TABLE by Barbara Holland

PRISONERS AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Polly is supposed to be assertive and Josh timid, but both prove plucky in this thoroughly improbable, implausible tale of kidnap. Induced by total strangers Bill and Verna, claiming to be Polly's out-of-state aunt and uncle, to climb into a car with local license plates, the children are sped away to a rented shack in the wilderness and held for ransom. Captors and captives eat frozen pizzas and watch television in the kitchen for an entire week while the families try unsuccessfully to scrape up the money. At last, when Bill, bored with television, goes out, and Verna, bored with the whole business, gets drunk, Josh seizes their shotgun and the kids walk five hours in the dark to safety. This is slender stuff to begin with, pointlessly fluffed out with dreary recountings of the TV programs and commercials the four watch. Small-time hoods Bill, who uses ""bad words,"" and Verna, who chews gum and chain smokes, are one-dimensional characters; so are spoiled Polly and goody-goody Josh. The imprudent kidnappers discuss all their business in front of the kids, the better to inform the reader, effectively sealing their fate when they are caught, as, we are assured, they will be.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin