THE LAST CODFISH by J.D. McNeill
Kirkus Star

THE LAST CODFISH

Age Range: 10 - 15
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A thoughtful and at times riveting story of a 15-year-old boy who hasn’t spoken since his mother died in a boating accident seven years earlier. Tut lives with his father, a fisherman who is often drunk, in a coastal village in Maine. He takes solace in reading (though he is perceived to be stupid), particularly his mother’s books by Jane Austin, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and by writing her letters that he throws out to the sea in bottles. McNeill deftly portrays the dissolution of a grieving family, but it’s Tut’s means of coping, his struggle to make things alright enough so that the authorities don’t interfere, as well as his relationships with those in the community who try to help him, that will draw in young readers. Most important, his unexpected and burgeoning friendship with talkative, intrepid Alex, who has parental problems of her own (her mother’s total self-absorption is a bit one-sided), provides a nice counterpoint and adds depth to the drama. McNeill sensitively explores the difficulty of change in this impressive debut, whether it’s the increasing scarcity of good fishing, or a father and son needing to move on with their lives. (Fiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8050-7489-9
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2005




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