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GOING TO THE SUN by Jean Craighead George


by Jean Craighead George

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row

Though Jean George has always had her ups and downs, it's hard to believe that the author of Julie of the Wolves could produce this pulpy drivel. As always, her descriptions of the wildlife and terrain in question convinces you that she knows it well, and the ecological story is up to her everyday standard: Marcus, seventeen and gung ho to shoot Old Gore, king of the mountain goats, is hired through his hunter father to study the goats and confirm Errington's law of compensation (that for every prey animal killed another lives to replace it); during his summer in the mountains, Marcus comes reluctantly to believe that the law does not apply and the goats must be protected. But George's problem is with the personal relationships, especially those between Marcus and Melissa Morgan--Melissa, whose family has long feuded with his, whose brother Will falls to his death in a fight with Marcus early in the novel, who herself secretly becomes Marcus' wife at fifteen. (The couple have been in love since first sighting each other when she was in fifth grade and he in seventh.) It is really Melissa, of the golden-red curls, supple body and joyful cries, who organizes the goat study and pursues the evidence against Errington's law--but when Marcus goes after Old Gore with a gun because a local Blackfoot has temporarily convinced him that Will's spirit is trapped in the goat and can only be freed by death, a shocked Melissa leaves their tent home and allows her father to annul their marriage. George's gushy, clich├ęd prose makes this read even worse than it sounds; it's clear that she derives more inspiration from Romulus and Remus than from Romeo and Juliet.