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FITZ by Mick Cochrane

FITZ

By Mick Cochrane

Age Range: 12 - 15

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-85683-9
Publisher: Knopf

A high school sophomore kidnaps his estranged father at gunpoint.

Fitzgerald, or Fitz as he calls himself, has never met his biological father. His mother is maddeningly evasive on the subject, but Fitz learns that his father, a wealthy lawyer, lives nearby from the address on the monthly child support checks. He obtains a gun with unbelievable ease from a schoolyard drug dealer and hatches a plan to hold his dad hostage with the vague notion of getting “a lump sum of his father’s time and attention. Back pay.” Despite the sinister presence of the gun and his father’s initial shock, the two are soon enjoying a pleasant day out together, which includes a trip to the zoo and lunch at a diner. But Fitz quickly realizes that it will take more than one afternoon to bond with this person who is essentially a stranger. “What you get at gunpoint, that’s not love…you can take a guy’s car, but you can’t jack someone’s heart.” The distant, third-person, present-tense narration fails to convey the emotional urgency of the provocative premise, and the gun, which is hardly mentioned after its initial appearance and harmlessly discharged once near the end, feels like a titillating contrivance added on to spice up an otherwise unremarkable story of father/son conflict.

Ends not with a bang, but a whimper. (Fiction. 12-15)