WHICHAWAY by Glendon & Kathryn Swarthout
Kirkus Star


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That's not a question readers will have to ask. Once they start this, they'll read it right through to the end without stopping or losing their place. The fifteen year old comic/tragic hero is the awkward, myopic, bookish son of an austere widower who rigidly expects the boy to be able to take over at the ranch, and he's just the person to fall into a ridiculous/terrifying situation. Carelessly he loped off on his horse for a short morning's ride, then on impulse he changed direction and went to Crazy Men Mesa. And there he got caught by a dust devil and was left stranded on a small platform thirty feet up on a windmill with both legs broken, with no food, and in a place where it would take days for anyone to find him. For most of the book he's confined there, but his story's as holding as a wide-ranging adventure. Twice he's found--by cattle-rustlers and by a deluded old man--both times abandoned. During the passage of time he gradually moves into a delirium, but at the same time he develops an understanding of his impending death (in small, personal, non-morbid ways) and of himself as an individual. Eventually he effects his own rescue. He looks absurd doing it and his father's as unsympathetic as ever, so it's strictly a personal victory--but readers will be moved by it. Unusual and absorbing, it's a book young people can enjoy discussing.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1966
Publisher: Random House