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SUMMER SWITCH by Mary Rodgers


by Mary Rodgers

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1982
ISBN: 0060512318
Publisher: Harper & Row

Having hit the comedy switch with Freaky Friday (1972), which put 13-year-old Annabel Andrews into her mother's body for a brief spell of household hassles, Rodgers generates as many laughs by having Annabel's younger brother Ben, now twelve, switch bodies with his father. Both are surprised when it happens in the Port Authority bus station—and a screaming, kicking Dad is dragged off to the summer camp he hated in his own youth while Ben, in beard and business suit, must fly to L.A. for some very sensitive sessions with his new boss, the president of Galaxy Pictures. A serious early goof on Ben's part actually works for his (or his dad's) advantage, and soon he is offered a promotion to vice president and a move to Los Angeles. All in all bland, nice-guy Ben does surprisingly well in this ruthless world where no one is sincere and his goofs are interpreted as gamesmanship. Meanwhile, in alternate chapters, Dad-as-Ben becomes the successful jock he never was the first time round, and the tired old summer-camp material gets a shot in the arm from the switch twist: when the camper protagonist lets down his music-loving best friend to become popular number-two jock, then lets down number-one jock to return to his friend, it is executive Dad, not a developing kid, who is being humanized. The major crisis comes to center on the mother/wife, who is angry that her husband (so it seems) has unilaterally accepted the move to California—but the males are switched back in time to solve that problem, in a way Dad wouldn't have before. Needless to say, father and son end up closer for the ordeal. More important, the mixups along the way are hilariously funny.