RADIO ROBERT by Lois L. Fisher


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It's the rare fictional younster who can say, without blanching: ""Mom and Dad don't like each other, which is why they split up."" And add, with truthful humor: ""Al least they're not scrapping anymore. That's because Mom's here in Briarwood and Dad's in Baltimore."" Sixth grader Robbie Parker, who worried about being too nice (i.e., dull) in Wretched Robert, has the feeling this time that his friends are changing, and he's ""behind"": best buddy (black) Clete is down on parental hugging and stuck on a girl; the other kids think it's not ""cool"" to let your feelings show. But Robbie's #1 worry is the return of his glad-handing, ""sort of irresponsible,"" radio-announcer dad, a.k.a. Drive-Time Donald Bailey (because he's on the air from four-to-seven). Will Dad queer Robbie's relationship with his Adult Ally, simpatico Biff? He'll certainly stir up Mom, and hear about her new boyfriend. On the plus side, telling about Dad gets Robbie much-desired attention from teacher Mr. Connerly. And when Dad puts Robbie on the air--to shut up loudmouth, skeptical classmate Josie, but also (as his mother says) ""to score points with management""--Robbie is extra-confused: wary of being manipulated, but also proud of being ""Radio Robert."" It's an adroit lesson in mixed motives and ambiguous results (Robbie's on-the-air candor causes some embarrassment, but also triggers some recognitions)--with a bit of comic pairing-off but also a cushion of thoughtful decency.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1985
Publisher: Dodd, Mead