SPILL by Chester Aaron


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The Spill refers to a real one which occurred in 1971, dumping half a million gallons of oil off the coast of northern Califonia. And, as a preface explains, a people's army did mobilize to save a lagoon adjacent to a bird sanctuary famous for its great blue herons and egrets. From this factual base, Aaron constructs a rather wobbly fictional framework, re-enacting the disaster as it touches on the animal-loving Taylors: Dad runs a sheep farm; Mom works at the bird sanctuary; Judy, at fourteen, runs her own animal clinic; and fifteen-year-old Jeff has discovered what is possibly the largest sea anemone on the west coast. As of late there's been some family friction what with Jeff suddenly hanging out with a scuzzy crowd of ""potheads."" But all it takes is the rallying cry of ""Spill!"" to restore the Taylors' togetherness as Jeff drops his ""doper"" friends the second he gets ""involved."" By haphazardly cutting from one character to another, Aaron eventually loses control of the action: Judy is left unconscious at the bottom of a tidepool and we don't find out what's become of her until 40 pages later when she suddenly rematerializes in a hospital room. And Aaron so overplays the power-to-the-people good vibrations that despite some affecting scenes of rescue work, this seems in its own way as slick as that oil spill.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1977
Publisher: Atheneum (Margaret K. McElderry)