THE SECRET OF HELL'S KITCHEN: A Parable for Young People by Erie de Saussure

THE SECRET OF HELL'S KITCHEN: A Parable for Young People

Email this review


Subtitled a parable, this fantasy adventure is refreshingly unprofessional, strikingly sincere, and aptly set in a figurative Hell's Kitchen that exists and a true one that's made up--but it's also sentimental, often awkward, unfashionably didactic, and obvious in its moral. In it David and Patty, two Greek-American children from the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan, climb down through a hole in the sidewalk to find the source of the steam that has been coming up through the cracks. They are equipped with a giant Key, good for all doors and innocent hearts, that has been in their family since ancient times. Deep underground they are trapped by a colony of mean, militaristic Hyporats who plan to take over the city. But the children's lesson in love wins over the Hyporat General's mischievous son Napoleon, and he helps them escape in a whale to the underwater island of Professor Rhododendron, the human responsible for the rats' menacing Omega bomb. The old Professor, however, proves kindly and wise, in charge of both the deadly Omega bomb and another store of energy for good. When he sends them home to a glorious New York-style welcome-home parade, David and Patty are comforted to know that ""no matter what happened he would always be watching."" Alas, the piously conceived Professor is a feeble and orthodox answer to the eternal questions posed by the Hyporats and their bomb--and put by little Napoleon, who doesn't understand why Rhododendron works for his father. Still, an interesting dud.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1981
Publisher: Seabury