HANK by Arch Montgomery


Age Range: 14 & up
Email this review


A Maryland eighth-grader with an attitude problem stumbles through a catastrophic summer in this labored, agenda-ridden debut. Hank shuttles at will between his mother and her new husband, both too stoned even to notice when he comes home with a ring in his ear, and his lawyer father, whose new wife is a control freak whom Hank dubs “Mrs. Perfect-Lady-Karen.” Cast as a typical pimple-popping, masturbating-in-the-shower, going-inarticulate-around-girls teenager, Hank repeatedly finds himself out of his depth. He catches his father, supposedly working late at the office, with his pants down; walks in on a gang-bang at an orgiastic party; ultimately falling in with a pair of gay paintball enthusiasts who take him to a tournament in Pennsylvania, where he’s kidnapped by a squad of homophobic ex-marines. Escaping from this last, Hank stumbles down to the Pennsylvania Turnpike just as his seventh-grade English teacher drives by, and so gets a ride home. With the possible exception of Hank’s little stepsister Stephie, all of the characters here are held up as examples, good or bad, and used to set up moral quandaries, or to deliver opinions and sermons on sex, parental responsibility, lying, respect, teaching methods, and more. From slow start to unlikely finish, Hank’s overstuffed tale gives readers no reason either to consider its plethora of pointed messages seriously, or to root for its unappealing narrator. Billed as the first of a trilogy, too. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-890862-22-3
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Bancroft Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2002