UNFINISHED DREAMS by Jane Breskin Zalben


Age Range: 10 & up
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 Jason dreams of becoming a violinist, a dream his beloved principal, Mr. Carr, is helping him to realize. When Mr. Carr starts missing school the rumors begin, and finally the truth comes out: Mr. Carr has AIDS and is spending his final days with relatives. When schoolmates begin echoing the intolerance they hear at home, Jason defends Mr. Carr, little imagining the devastating personal consequences. Zalben (Goldie's Purim, 1991, etc.) keeps sentimentality to a minimum; this is less a story about AIDS and death than it is a story of a decent, caring boy facing mindless hatred for the very first time. The tragedy is kept mostly offstage, and the most terrible, heartbreaking moment involves the destruction of an object instead of a deathbed scene. Although the event doesn't come as much of a surprise, few will remain unmoved, for Zalben's gift, in simple, unobtrusive writing, is to make readers feel what Jason feels. At the end, what they'll feel is hope. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-689-80033-9
Page count: 169pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996


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