DOLPHIN SUNRISE by Elizabeth Webster


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 Webster (Escape into Light, 1992, etc.) continues to boost noble causes to relieve the downtrodden (battered women and kids, mental patients, etc.), but stick-figure characters, awash in sentiment, are just not up to carrying a Cause--which is too bad, because the cause here is the rescue of threatened sea mammals, specifically dolphins. Fifteen-year-old Matt's alcoholic mother died in a fire with her latest man, but Matt was able to rescue four children in the building. (English Matt, by the way, is so noble and pure in intent and speech that adults cluster around in admiration.) He is sent to Cornwall for swimming therapy for his burns, and there he meets a marine biologist, a right-thinking swimming instructor, a grouchy old ``Captain'' who turns out to be a millionaire, and ``Flite'' the dolphin, whose joy in living is infectious. (Flite also rescues a small boy from floating out to sea.) Matt--among other things, a brilliant guitarist--plays his guitar for the dolphin and seals. Then an aunt-by-marriage in San Diego sends for him. There, he'll play guitar in a diner, meet an animal-rights activist, and go off to Baja, where he'll learn firsthand of the cruel deaths of dolphins from the giant fishing firms with drift nets. All along, Matt collects adults who want to do their best for the lad; finally, there are reunions, a trip back to England, and a sad/joyful last view of Flite. Webster appends facts about the slaughter of dolphins--but it's unfortunate that the author has chosen a dweeb like Matt for their spokesperson.

Pub Date: June 14th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09276-8
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993