DAKOTA DREAM by James Bennett


Age Range: 12 - 16
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 Shunted from one foster home to another, Floyd is sustained by the idea that becoming a Dakota is his ``destiny''; one day, he'll be accepted into the tribe. As this novel by the author of I Can Hear the Mourning Dove (1990) opens, the 15-year-old arrives at Pine Ridge Reservation after an 800-mile trek on a ``borrowed'' motorcycle. Impressed with his sincerity, Chief Bear-in-cave (after conscientiously eliciting the name of the runaway's social worker) suggests that he engage in a vision quest--during which Floyd remembers the events leading to his flight. An intelligent, fair-minded boy whose ambition is to write, he's been chronically in trouble: with the mean-spirited woman running his latest group home; in school, where teachers find his creativity a threat; with the social service bureaucracy. His one positive relationship is with new social worker Barbara, who--naively but effectively--defies the system in his behalf. Still, a concatenation of misunderstandings by the narrow-minded consortium responsible for his fate landed Floyd in a mental institution, from which he has just fled. Characters here are virtually all good or bad, while the outcome--Barbara offers hope of a more congenial foster home; Floyd is invited to return to Pine Ridge next summer--is optimistic. But the dynamics between a thoughtful boy struggling to keep his unique spark alive and the oblivious public employees doing their best to quench it are poignantly realized. A sobering portrait, with a conclusion young readers will find satisfying. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-590-46680-1
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1994


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