GOODBYE, CHARLEY by Jane Buchanan


Age Range: 9 - 12
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Celie’s strong 12-year-old voice focuses the semi-omniscient third-person narrative, eloquently revealing her attitudes about the severe 1943 Gloucester, Massachusetts, community spirit, which is much too serious for the kind of childhood her Dad thinks his children need. He brings home a rhesus monkey. Celie’s pure delight with the wild animal she names Charley is hardly dampened by Mom’s realistic wet blanket; the monkey’s well-being requires specialized habitat and care, complicated by limited time and resources in their home due to sacrifices to support the war. It’s not the “I-told-you-so” parental point of view that guides the plot, but Celie’s inner adventurousness, heretofore never explored, that will delight readership, as she learns to make friends with an unlikely chap, from her way of thinking, reaches out to help her brother, despite their rivalry, and puts the welfare of Charley above her heart’s desire. Though it’s obvious what Charley’s destiny will be, the charm of a young girl exploring the Massachusetts coast and exploring life farther than she has ever done is evoked in historical details and veridical characters. No monkey business about it. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-35020-5
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2004


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