ASYLUM FOR NIGHTFACE by Bruce Brooks

ASYLUM FOR NIGHTFACE

Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Brooks (Boys Will Be, 1993, etc.), at his most cerebral, introduces a moral puzzle in this tale of a teenager being pressured into public sainthood by his parents. With his strong faith and consuming interest in matters of the spirit, Zimmerman has become somewhat alien to his loving but agnostic parents--pot-smoking, successful professionals who occasionally throw out doubts or temptations just to see if he'll waver. He doesn't, until they come back from a vacation converted to a beach sect billed ``The Faith of Faiths'' by its charismatic founder, Luke Mark John. Suddenly, Zim is idolized, treated with dewy awe by his mother and father, who eventually let slip the news that Luke Mark John wants Zim to be ``poster boy for the Faith of Faiths,'' to lure younger members into the sect. Zim, who has shied away from organized religion to follow a solitary path, looks upon his parents' zeal with a dubious eye, meanwhile delivering keenly intelligent observations on a variety of subjects, from Jesus (``tough, compulsive, brash . . . intense to the point of being frightening, and definitely, definitely, tired'') to the dangers of accepting any opinions, even Holy Writ, uncritically. He is at last driven, rather than led, into temptation; in a desperate effort to save himself from the fate his parents have planned for him, he tries for a jail sentence, or at least some tarnish on his spotless reputation, by stealing a rare trading card. Every character here except the protagonist is a caricature, every twist of the story thoroughly laced with irony. While Brooks exhibits, as usual, that he is a born storyteller with a flair for imaginative detailing, plot takes a backseat to theme in this satiric, intellectual exercise. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: June 30th, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-027060-8
Page count: 137pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1996




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