FOLLOWING MY OWN FOOTSTEPS by Mary Downing Hahn

FOLLOWING MY OWN FOOTSTEPS

Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

For as long as he can remember, Gordy and the other members of his family have been routinely beaten bloody by his alcoholic father. In fact, his father is in jail for beating one brother, now hospitalized. Mama, unable to support the family alone, takes the family to Grandma's house in North Carolina, where Gordy--a tough kid who brawls, curses, and scorns school--meets his match; Grandma will brook none of Gordy's sass. Outside her house he's as obnoxious as ever until he meets William, wheelchair-bound from polio. The boys soon become good friends, until Gordy's well-intentioned plan to force William to walk results in William's mother taking him away. Can things get worse? They can--Daddy is out of jail and Mama, a born victim, is ready to rejoin him. Gordy knows he'll never be happy at Grandma's, but the alternative is worse. As Grandma slowly begins to breach Gordy's carefully constructed walls of toughness and bluster, he starts to realize that he's where he belongs. William returns, with leg braces and crutches, but without the wheelchair, an improvement credited to Gordy. A cast of unforgettable characters inhabit this work, seasoned with WW II setting but utterly contemporary in its concerns. Hahn is in top form, proving through Gordy's first-person narration that real love can triumph over all kinds of adversity, and often does. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-76477-7
Page count: 186pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1996




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