THE WHIPPING BOY by Beth Holmes

THE WHIPPING BOY

KIRKUS REVIEW

The names have been changed, says Holmes in her preface, but the gaudy, surreal substance of this story of insanity amid great wealth is apparently true. Evie Lowell is forced out of her neurotic torpor to face the uncomfortable fact that her twelve-year-old son is psychotic. Her ""normal"" family, including benign-seeming husband Tom (who virtually winks at the reader when his son's sanity is questioned), evolves into a hive of symbiotic and nightmarish relationships that worsen as the insanities reach fever pitch. On a field trip with his classmates, Timmy crazily keeps his finger on a button that could catapult a man to his death--and is dismissed from school. Mother and son then begin a cross-country odyssey that amounts to a hell-bent race against time and Timmy's deteriorating mental state as they search for a suitable institution for him. He flashes in and out of insanity, unable to resist the seductive pull of his psychosis. In a sane moment, he assures his mother of the urgency of their search. In an insane one, he tries to seduce her. Powerful stuff on the order of Sybil, with lashing attacks on institutional schools, and a tale that will undoubtedly find its way into film.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1978
Publisher: Richard Marek--dist. by Putnam