TANGO'S BABY by Martin Waddell

TANGO'S BABY

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From a prolific picture-book author (The Big Big Sea, 1994, etc.) comes a murky, confusing novel about two young slum dwellers forced prematurely into self-reliance. The story is raggedly pieced together by a former classmate, who narrates. After her father's death, Crystal O'Leary, 14, fixes on the only other man who's been kind to her, Brian ``Tango'' Tangello, 17. They make a baby. Bursting with pride, Tango--without parents, no settled home, no steady job--drops out of school and says he has a plan. Crystal believes him at first, but soon takes up with an older man before returning to the home of her despicable mother and violent older brother. Tango snatches the baby but is jailed for his trouble. Even readers willing to navigate the story's gaps and impenetrable British slang will be unlikely to form clear pictures of these two teens. Tango is constantly moving in and out of scenes, rarely speaking for himself, and Crystal is a pale presence compared to her family and friends. Tango's feckless ability to see beyond the present and the brittle shell Crystal develops in the name of self-preservation might strike chords of recognition, but Waddell leaves the two as welfare-state statistics, and the humor here, so black it may not even be humor, doesn't compensate for a moiled plot, difficult vocabulary, and cheerless resolution. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-56402-615-9
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1995




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