CLEAVER OF THE GOOD LUCK DINER by James Duffy

CLEAVER OF THE GOOD LUCK DINER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Nineteen episodes in which Cleaver--a large, friendly Bernese Mountain Dog--serves as an important catalyst in the lives of the Stuart family. Dad dropped out of school to work at the diner; after he married Mom, they ran the diner for years before he felt ""trapped"" and left, leaving Cleaver as surrogate. A year has passed, Dad wants to come home, and his daughters--narrator Sarah and younger Cori--would like to have him, but Mom (understandably) is still annoyed. Meanwhile, Cleaver provides amusement--effectively evacuating the diner after he encounters a skunk; catching the puck just in time to prevent a score during Sarah's junior-high hockey game; but also helping a nice waitress realize she's about to marry the wrong man, and settling an obstreperous drunk in the diner. Eventually, as expected, it's also Cleaver who finally gets Mom and Dad back together. These aren't really dog stories: while pivotal, Cleaver's role is never large, and he's not a vivid character. The tales are amusing and pleasant, in spite of such implausibilities as the casual attitude of Mom and her mother (who lost her family to Hitler, barely escaping herself) toward their Jewish heritage (they celebrate Christmas and not Hanukah), and the easy reconciliation between Dad and his mother, whose unreasonable expectations lie at the root of his problems.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1989
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Scribners