GRAB HANDS AND RUN by Frances Temple


Age Range: 10 & up
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 The author of a fine first novel about recent events in Haiti (Taste of Salt, 1992) depicts an El Salvadoran family fleeing to Canada. Felipe, 12, overhears his activist father Jacinto tell his mother Paloma, ``If they come for me, you and the children grab hands and run.'' When Jacinto does disappear, Felipe finds a note: ``Leave and don't come back. If not, you die.'' The tragedies and cruelties of the journey north are not Felipe's first troubles--he has spent a night hiding to escape impressment into the army, and he once found a man's hand in a lot near his home (``The death squads often dismember,'' Jacinto explained); but now there are new horrors--guides who charge exorbitantly, then steal still more; a man who offers a ride only to turn them in. The violence is real but mostly offstage or implicit in threats they're lucky enough to escape; Paloma flirts to gain one man's help, then manages to evade him; later, she uses the safer tactic of disguising herself as an unattractive boy. The characters come vividly to life, in their courageous behavior and in Temple's telling language (to her hard-working grandfather, little sister Romy is ``as dear to him as his machete''); the grueling journey typifies the Latino refugee experience, though these three--as certifiable political fugitives--are lucky enough to find acceptance when they reach their goal. Well wrought, authentic, and compelling. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-531-05480-2
Page count: 166pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993


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