SMOKE FROM THE CHIMNEY by Kathy Kennedy Tapp
Kirkus Star


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The devastating effect of an alcoholic father on his family in a moving story told by the sensitive 11-year-old middle daughter. When Erin and best friend, Heather, both Tarzan nuts, scout out the perfect jungle shelter in a tree overlooking Main Street, Erin sees her father step into a bar--and knows his latest interlude of sobriety has ended. Parental fights alternate with time spent in jail and Dad's bizarre behavior, such as burning a toy chest and canned goods in the fireplace. When sober, he can be charming. Erin writes a story featuring a beautiful captive who waits for Tarzan, her real father, to rescue her. Despite Mom's need to pay off debts, Erin wants to go to camp with Heather. To raise money, the girls put on a successful puppet show, but then Mom lands in the hospital. On July 4th, Erin spends the night alone in the tree house; when a thunderstorm forces her down, she goes to Dad's rooming house. He cares for her and later confesses he's read her Tarzan story. There are many bright, humorous scenes here, as well as moments of high suspense and genuine emotion. A touching portrait of an appealing family caught in a trying situation.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1986
Page count: 169pp
Publisher: Atheneum