THE SABBATH GARDEN by Patricia Baird Greene


Age Range: 12 & up
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 Greene's debut offers a slice of contemporary urban angst as blacks, Jews, and Hispanics struggle for survival in N.Y.C.'s angry streets. As the dedication indicates, the story is rooted in the Bowery-Houston Garden on the Lower East Side. Opal Tyler, the black adolescent viewpoint character, battles her own self-destructive nature in a home that's troubled by a depressed mother and a dangerous brother. Opal finds safety in the apartment of neighbor Solomon Leshko, a Jewish elder who remembers the days when the neighborhood cradled his Orthodox brethren. Trying to regain Solomon's silver, stolen by her brother, Opal is shot, though not fatally. Anger and destruction escalate until Solomon decides he must leave; attempting to keep him in the neighborhood, Opal plants the idea of a community garden where diverse cultures, working together, can create a peaceful haven at the center of the war zone. Greene's language packs an honest, urban punch; the city's tension fairly pulses through the book. Unfortunately, its power is diluted with too many characters, themes, and relationships, all tied up too neatly at the end. Still, a valiant attempt to address the urban dilemma. Glossary of ethnic words. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-67430-6
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993