FACE TO FACE by Marion Dane Bauer

FACE TO FACE

Age Range: 10 - 14
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 In another gripping novel about a boy forced to confront his values, the author of On My Honor (Newbery Honor, 1987) examines the role of guns in the imagination of a troubled youth. Michael has not seen his father, Bert, since Bert left the family farm eight years ago. Though Mom's new husband--pleasant but taciturn Dave--has adopted him, Michael has always resented Dave and treasured his memories of Bert, especially of their hunting together. Reluctantly, Dave and Mom give Michael a gun for his 13th birthday--a gun he promptly misuses, and loses, by letting his little sister shoot it. At the same time, Bert invites Michael to visit: he's now a white-water rafting guide in Colorado. Michael sets out full of hopes for a man-to-man relationship, but Bert doesn't match his fantasies: he's not tall; his trailer is cramped and uncomfortable; he's a rolling stone who still doesn't make his son the center of his world. Ironically, it's his macho qualities that Michael finds hardest to bear--especially during a terrifying raft trip. In the end, Michael goes home and finally turns to Dave--but not before he finds his confiscated gun and experiences the kind of impotent, disillusioned rage that can make a person turn a gun against others, or against himself. Bauer subtly modulates Michael's changing feelings--as he discovers who Bert really is, recollects the bitter truth about that long-ago deer hunt, and is finally able to integrate what he has learned so that he can throw down the gun--for a thoughtful, richly provocative story. (Fiction. 10-14)*justify no*  In another gripping novel about a boy forced to confront his values, the author of On My Honor (Newbery Honor, 1987) examines the role of guns in the imagination of a troubled youth. Michael has not seen his father, Bert, since Bert left the family farm eight years ago. Though Mom's new husbandpleasant but taciturn Davehas adopted him, Michael has always resented Dave and treasured his memories of Bert, especially of their hunting together. Reluctantly, Dave and Mom give Michael a gun for his 13th birthdaya gun he promptly misuses, and loses, by letting his little sister shoot it. At the same time, Bert invites Michael to visit: he's now a white-water rafting guide in Colorado. Michael sets out full of hopes for a man-to-man relationship, but Bert doesn't match his fantasies: he's not tall; his trailer is cramped and uncomfortable; he's a rolling stone who still doesn't make his son the center of his world. Ironically, it's his macho qualities that Michael finds hardest to bearespecially during a terrifying raft trip. In the end, Michael goes home and finally turns to Davebut not before he finds his confiscated gun and experiences the kind of impotent, disillusioned rage that can make a person turn a gun against others, or against himself. Bauer subtly modulates Michael's changing feelingsas he discovers who Bert really is, recollects the bitter truth about that long-ago deer hunt, and is finally able to integrate what he has learned so that he can throw down the gunfor a thoughtful, richly provocative story. (Fiction. 10-14)*justify no*

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1991
ISBN: 0-395-55440-3
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991




MORE BY MARION DANE BAUER

ChildrenTHE STUFF OF STARS by Marion Dane Bauer
by Marion Dane Bauer
ChildrenWINTER DANCE by Marion Dane Bauer
by Marion Dane Bauer
ChildrenLITTLE CAT'S LUCK by Marion Dane Bauer
by Marion Dane Bauer
ChildrenCRINKLE, CRACKLE, CRACK by Marion Dane Bauer
by Marion Dane Bauer