THE DIRTY WAR by Charles H. Slaughter

THE DIRTY WAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Atre Romanelli is an Argentine teenager in 1976. He and his best friend, Chino Echavarria, live in a run-down section of Buenos Aires -- although Atre's family is quite wealthy -- and together they roam the streets and scare the occasional tourist. During the summer they work as boat boys on Atre's father's cruise ship and make extra money by pretending to be Indian natives and diving for tourists' coins. But after the military coup, existence for Atre, Chino, and their families becomes confusing. People they know are taken from their homes and ""disappear."" They're not arrested or detained, exactly, they're just gone. Everyone is afraid to talk. Still, Atre's life doesn't alter significantly until his own father is taken away. Atre's mother works tirelessly to keep the business going, rally support for her demands to see her husband, and maintain her part-time job with the Buenos Aires Herald, which gives her some protection from the government. Atre skips school to ask around about his father. Thankfully, Mr. Romanelli turns up. Atre learns that his father was taken because of a house he bought -- an army officer wanted the same house. They sell it and Mr. Romanelli comes home, but meanwhile Chino has been taken, and Atre never sees him again. Newcomer Slaughter humanizes the Dirty War in his dramatization of life under a brutal and inhumane regime.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1994
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Walker