DENNY'S TAPES by Carolyn Meyer


Email this review


A racially mixed teen-age boy journeys across the country to become acquainted with his grandparents. Denny's parents (black father, white mother) have been divorced for many years. His mother, with whom he lives, has married a white doctor whom Denny does not like. Denny's stepsister Stephanie, an intense, dedicated dancer, comes to live with the family; Denny's and Stephanie's relationship deepens into love. But when the two of them are discovered, Stephanie's father huffs a racial epithet at Denny, and Denny decides to leave home, He drives to Chicago to meet the black grandmother he has never known, then to Nebraska to meet his white grandmother, and finally to San Francisco to see his jazz musician father, who is practically a stranger. By the end of the journey, he has learned a little about his black heritage and his white family, and has discovered that he wants to be a musician. The novel is idled with sociologically clichÉd situations: Denny is forever coming upon people calling him names behind his back; his well-educated, middle-class black grandmother has a completely college-educated family--and this family is also related to Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson and great friends with Langston Hughes. The members of his white family, meanwhile, are prejudiced, Bible-thumping rednecks. An unappealing story that wants to be significant but turns out to be predictable.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Page count: 209pp
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry/Macmillan