BINGO BROWN'S GUIDE TO ROMANCE by Betsy Byars
Kirkus Star

BINGO BROWN'S GUIDE TO ROMANCE

Age Range: 9 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In a fourth delightful book about a young hem who stir anticipates "mixed sea conversations" with tongue-tied trepidation, Bingo, now in junior high, has a rocky reunion with former classmate and sometime pen pal Melissa. Byars spins a witty web of dialogue here, airily supported by the insubstantial events; it takes pages for Bingo to catch wind of Melissa's reappearance and alternately stalk and hide from her in a grocery and around the neighborhood, with his mother as unwilling but amused accomplice (Dare be speak? Is it really Melissa? Is she now taller than he is?); it takes chapters until they meet; and it takes the whole book before they really talk. Meanwhile, Dad goes into a depression when his first novel gets a rejection; sidekick Billy Wentworth (who's turning out to be a Bogart-style rough diamond) gruffly keeps Bingo on track; and Bingo himself, still ingenuously serf-absorbed, verbalizes each experience as a future guide for baby brother Jamie (see title). There are some nifty Byars touches here--e.g., Bingo can't finish The Red Badge of Courage on schedule because he's so poignantly in tune with each sentence that he has to stop to ponder it (he's lucky enough to have a teacher who understands)--and a few serious undertones, but the focus is on the comical interaction and the sympathetic, on-target depiction of a nice, bright, romantic preadolescent with a quirky, affectionate family and an endlessly inquisitive mind. A gossamer tour de force. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-670-84491-8
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992




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