FOREVER AHBRA by Mary Anderson

FOREVER AHBRA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Larry Rostovich from Queens first meets Egyptian, exotic-looking Ahbra, a new fellow student at New York's High School of Music and Art, when she falls on him in a dead faint near their lockers. But soon she's up and off, rejecting his friendly overtures. Later she seeks out his friendship and her father, an oil executive, tries to pay him to take her about. Ahbra behaves erratically, dresses like a camp Cleopatra, is subject to voices and visions, and believes herself the victim of a curse laid on her grandfather, who helped unearth King Tut's tomb. Even down-to-earth Larry is spooked after she ticks off all the disasters that have befallen people involved in the excavation. But now the Tut show is in New York, their art class is required to attend, and though Ahbra wants Larry to do her report he insists that she confront the source of her superstitious fears. But maybe she's right, for Ahbra keels over at a dramatic spot at the exhibit, and this time she doesn't come to. While waiting for her in the hospital, Larry begins to wonder about there possibly being more on heaven and earth than dreamed of in our Western philosophy. A diagnosis of narcolepsy seems to squash such speculation, but then the bigwig doctors' treatment, keeping Ahbra indefinitely drugged to prevent further sleep attacks, casts doubt on the wisdom of the West. This is a clever twist and the diagnosis does account for behavior that seemed beyond explaining. But it's all pretty silly, the mummy's-curse appeal is pretty shabby, and the talk and ideas are pretty shallow--right down to Ahbra's goodbye letter from back home in Egypt (she's off drugs, happy, spiritually questing) and Larry's renewed commitment to an art career.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1981
Publisher: Atheneum