REMEMBER THE RED-SHOULDERED HAWK by Doris Buchanan Smith

REMEMBER THE RED-SHOULDERED HAWK

Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 John-too Viravek is overjoyed when his Czech-born grandmother moves in with his family in southern Georgia; but Nanna has Alzheimer's, and though the vibrant person he has always loved occasionally surfaces, she doesn't understand that she's living in her son's home or recognize her own family. Meanwhile, close friend Brod's behavior is also bewildering. Without provocation, he starts a fight with an African-American classmate; and not only is the computer game that he's designing violent, but he has also somehow acquired a virulently racist German game. In contrast, the nonviolent game John-too is developing reflects his deeply held values (which originated with Nanna, who--unlike her husband--survived the Nazi occupation). As described by her grandson, Nanna's baffling behavior, detailed with poignant authenticity, is the real focus here, though the reasons for Brod's new attitude and an encounter with the KKK (a cross is burned on the farm where John-too's sister and her black Puerto Rican husband live) are creatively interwoven for some thought-provoking parallels. But Smith raises the issue of the roots of violence without really exploring it; her true interest, in this incisive and heartfelt portrayal, is how memory loss alters conceptions of reality--and the family that must cope with a changed loved one. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4th, 1994
ISBN: 0-399-22443-2
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1994




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