BETTER THAN LAUGHTER by Chester Aaron

BETTER THAN LAUGHTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bored with ""crummy old civilization"" and disgusted with their striving suburban parents, Sam and Allan decide to run away to the California hills, taking their Schwinn bikes and expensive fishing equipment along. En route they meet eccentric, lonely Horace Butright, the aged attendant of the Redwood County Dump, who has devoted his life to the loving reconstruction of discarded antiques and dreaming of the good old days (which, for him at least, never existed since flashbacks reveal that he was an abandoned orphan). An immediate (and symbolic) rapport develops between these representatives of two alienated generations and when their father's bulldozers show up to turn the dump into a marina the boys pitch in on Horace's side -- hurling rockets and fireballs at the evictors in a futile gesture of rebellion. The indictment of technocracy is framed in terms more sentimental than rational (and Thelma, the black maid who cheers the boys' defiance with a cry of ""right on,"" is barely credible), yet the contrasting aspects of frustration, personified in Horace and the boys with an above-average degree of stylistic finesse, prove an emotionally explosive combination.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1972
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich