LINGER by M.E. Kerr

LINGER

Age Range: 12 - 16
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Linger--the restaurant in Berryville, Pennsylvania, traditional spot for community celebrations--is ruled by owner Ned Dunlinger with calculated generosity and shrewd manipulation of his affectionate employees. Among these are 16-year-old Gary's whole family--until brother Bobby, dismayed by the tragic results of a rumor that he started about a local Mexican restaurant in hopes of currying Dunlinger's favor, joins the army. With Bobby in the Persian Gulf, Dunlinger touts him as a hero, hanging flags and yellow ribbons in a jingoistic frenzy. Bobby writes to Dunlinger's daughter Lynn, but she's in love with Gary's teacher, Jules Raleigh, who deplores muddy thinking, intellectual dishonesty, and the war. When Dunlinger discovers their liaison, he forces Raleigh out of his job; but the full depths of his bigotry and cynicism are revealed in the revulsion with which he greets Bobby's disfigured Army buddy, Sanchez, wounded--like Bobby--by ``friendly fire.'' Yet in the end, forgetting how odiously hypocritical Dunlinger proved to be, people flock back to Linger in response to his sanctimonious latest cause: the homeless. The fast-moving story is rich with varied characters and points of view (Gary's narrative is interspersed with Bobby's journal entries and letters). It's an angry look at the US in microcosm, not on the cosmic scale of Howard's End but with plenty of thought-provoking parallels. And while Kerr's partisan stance may subvert the message for some, others will find it compelling. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-022879-2
Page count: 214pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993




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