CRY UNCLE! by Mary Jane Auch


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Davey Anderson, 11, is dismayed when Great-uncle Will comes to stay; a favorite of Davey's mother, Will is disoriented and unable to keep up the place he farmed with his brother, who has just died. Davey has other problems as well: the Spider Twins bully him; his mother is trying not to waste an overabundant zucchini crop; and his brother, Brad, is a callous, self-centered 15-year-old. Having Uncle Will intermittently believe himself to be a little boy, with Davey as his older brother, seems like the last straw. But Uncle Will soon endears himself to Davey; in his normal periods he's gentle and wise, as well as knowledgeable about the farm where the Andersons have just moved. He takes Davey on a secret moonlight raid to murder the remaining zucchinis and even earns Brad's respect by showing him how to split wood. Then he wanders off, and is found only with the help of a major search mobilized by his new friend, Mrs. Guptill, a vigorous grandmother. This crisis forces reassessments--and a surprising conclusion. An auspicious debut novel, full of action and humor, with touches of pathos sure to win Uncle Will the reader's sympathy. The subplot of Davey and new friend Sara giving the bullies their comeuppance is handled well. The happy ending, when a doctor abruptly concludes that Will is suffering from grief, not Alzheimer's, and when Will and Mrs. Guptill decide to marry, is pat but not implausible. Readers should enjoy the engaging characters and heartwarming story.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1987
Page count: 212pp
Publisher: Holiday House