REBEL ON A ROCK by Nina Bawden


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Readers of Carrie's War (1973) will be predisposed to follow the adventures of Carrie's daughter Jo, whose new stepfather Albert Sandwich (remember Albert?) takes the family vacationing in a lovely country currently suffering under dictatorship. Jo is flattered at the start when Albert involves her in his touchy mission of delivering smuggled messages to citizens of Ithaca; later, though, she's outraged when he seems to go along with hotel guest Herr Schmidt's approval of the regime. But Jo eventually learns what Albert had guessed all along--that Herr Schmidt is in reality the exiled leader Platonides, and the father of a boy her age with whom Jo had become friendly. Jo begins her first-person story by announcing that ""When I was twelve I stopped a war""; in the end you see that this less-than-heroic feat is accomplished when she inadvertently reveals the would-be revolutionary's identity to the dreaded, torturing regime. But Jo no sooner makes that revelation than she reports that Platonides will only be kept under house arrest for two years, when a new revolt will bring him to democratic power. It's a disappointingly easy resolution, and the visiting exile's behavior is sometimes hard to credit. A smaller story then, for a smaller war; but Bawden's keen and sympathetic sense of happy-family abrasions and pre-adolescent anxieties brings Jo and her problems very close to home.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1978
Publisher: Lippincott