IN CAHOOTS by Malcolm Cook MacPherson


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 Some middle-aged pals, oddball dreamers, conspire to make money off their hero, Walt Disney, in MacPherson's (The Blood of His Servants, 1984) latest, a sweet-tempered if slow-moving celebration of friendship as a license to goof off. Bud, his wife, Edith, and their three children are part of the postwar migration to Southern California. Unfortunately, they are as poor in Orange County, where Bud drives a soda truck, as they were in New England. Still, Bud has dreams (or ``dream-schemes''). So what if the minks didn't breed and the doughnut stand failed to attract passing motorists? When he hears that Walt Disney is planning an amusement park for kids, he summons his friends and shares his latest reverie: They will discover Walt's prospective site and buy a controlling quarter-acre. To do so, Bud secretly pawns his wife's brooch. But Bud's dream is about more than making money; it's about friends finding love together ``by being foolish, by laughing,'' as the Bible-thumping, ex-Hollywood costume designer Roland tells Bud's young son Callum. Callum prefers the company of adults, especially adults like Mr. Wait, the oracular Japanese- American who strolls through his orange groves and makes ``doing nothing almost meaningful.'' While Bud, guided by a crackpot who communicates with extraterrestrials, is shelling out money for the wrong site, smart Callum, suddenly as devious as his brooch- stealing dad, buys the right quarter-acre. But not to worry. The kid will fess up in a schmaltzy resolution, presided over by Walt himself, which will leave the whole gang richer in spirit. Mildly entertaining evocation of a sunny world in which poverty never pinches too sharply and Disney is treated like royalty.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-679-42204-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1994