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THE RUNNING MAN by Michael Gerard Bauer


by Michael Gerard Bauer

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-145508-7
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Two people emerge from their personal cocoons in this Australian import. Until he meets Tom Leyton, Joseph is a shy 14-year-old who hardly speaks to anyone. Sketching Tom for a school project, Joseph soon learns the tortured past of the reclusive Vietnam veteran who raises silkworms in his sister’s home. As the summer progresses, the two unlikely companions share their dark secrets, and Joseph gains the courage to confront the mysterious figure he sees chasing him both on the street and in his dreams. Joseph’s musings are occasionally too sophisticated for his chronological age, but such maturity appears authentic for his introverted personality. Instead of creating a static boogeyman, Bauer’s deft depiction of the Running Man moves him beyond spooky into a sympathetic light. A heavily moralizing subplot, built around Joseph’s guilt after a fight with his father, is unnecessary and adds a false and harsh note to the exploration of interpersonal relationships. Thankfully, the metamorphosis theme flows smoothly, enabling younger teen artists and scientists to enjoy both silkworm and character maturation. (Fiction. YA)