MORE THAN COURAGE by Michel-Aime Baudouy
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Translated from the French, this story has the virtues of the best foreign films -- strong characterization, narrow focus -- and none of the Hollywood-ish excesses typical of so much teen-age reading. A group of French schoolboys conspire to rehabilitate an old abandoned motorcycle which one of them has found. Most of the boys are poor; but 14-year-old Mick Martel lives on a country estate so large that a secret practice track can be cleared in its woods. An unused building on the Martel grounds serves them as a makeshift garage, where they spend every spare moment dismantling the cycle, cleaning and repairing its parts, scrounging replacements from junk yards and slowly restoring it to working order. Though they are all too young for permanent licenses, the dream that sustains the group is that they will be permitted to race the P. 105 in an upcoming meet. Social barriers disappear as the pressure of time grows more intense; Mick, especially, is racing against discovery by his parents who, he knows, will tolerate neither the project nor his new-found friends. Miss Baudouy is a master of layering details into a tower of suspense, and teen-agers of both sexes should find this absorbing. Mick's philosophical attitude toward his imperfect parents (who do NOT undergo any last-chapter reformations) will give them added food for thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1961
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World