THE KRYPTONITE KID by Joseph Torchia
Kirkus Star


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Jerry Chariot (a rather too obvious anagram-name for the author), along with his best friend Robert Sipanno, undergoes a crisis of faith unknown to the other pre-Communion kids in Holy Redeemer School, Pulpberg, Pennsylvania. You see, the ""nunns,"" especially Sister Mary Justin, are giving Jerry a hard time over the existence of Superman. Jerry, the truest of believers, can't help but give them a hard time back about God, who, if he's been reading his Catechism right, has the same Super Powers of the Man of Steel; so, therefore, God, it only figures, must be. . . . Jerry and Robert keep the Superhero regularly informed as to their undying faith by way of letters and poems: ""ROSES ARE RED/ YOUR OUTFIT IS BLUE/ LIKE YOU BETTER/ THAN JESUS THE JEW. AMEN."" They also write ultimata to pesky, nosey Lois Lane: ""Dear LOIS LANE, I am the Lord Thy God and thou shalt not think that Clark Kent is thy Superman. Amen. Yours truely, God the Father Almighty, Heaven, U.S.A."" After a while these letters (the whole book till near the end) get a little bit much, but it's after a long while; they stay buoyant, ardent, and believably kid-like all the way through. Then, when Jerry seeks to prove the existence of Superpowers by flipping himself off an apartment building roof and breaking his neck, the last-minute adult drama waters things down considerably. But without much on-going story to speak of, this contrived finale can be easily skipped--leaving, on balance, a sweet and funny book that may lead to other, more adult fictions from promising first-novelist Torchia.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1979
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston