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LOVE, DAVID by Dianne Case


by Dianne Case & illustrated by Dan Andreasen

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-525-67350-4
Publisher: Dutton

From South Africa, a moving evocation of the life of the ``colored'' under apartheid, based on the childhood of the author's mother. Narrator Anna lives in ``the Kamp''—``a vast stretch of undeveloped land on which people set up makeshift homes from scraps of wood and iron.'' She's old enough for school but must stay home to take care of her baby sister while Mamsie works long hours for her ``madam.'' Dadda, an excellent gardener, is regarded with affection by his wife and daughters despite his violent alcoholic rages, but he's bitterly at odds with his stepson David, whose behavior he hopes to improve with frequent beatings. David is adored by his half-sister and also finds solace with a dog he has rescued from drowning; impelled by the family's grinding poverty and goaded by Dadda's abuse, he also has a secret life of petty thievery and marijuana peddling, which eventually brings social services into play and results in a special boarding school (its nature is not clear) for David, a move to better housing for the family, and school for Anna. Case succeeds admirably in her attempt ``to share a culture with those who do not know about it'': her sharply drawn characters and story of a warmhearted boy responding to his troubles with care for his dog as well as with rebellion are poignantly believable, the setting fully realized. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 8-12)