THE EMPTY SEAT by Phyllis Green

THE EMPTY SEAT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A put-up job that's as unattractive as it is unconvincing. ""Tweety-Bird is sure being a stinker this summer,"" grumbles eleven-year-old Michael because his grand-mother won't go riding on his tandem as she has during his past summer visits to Ocean City. It never occurs to him, as he grouses about his grandfather's occasional bad temper too, that his grandmother might not be well; but that's the crux of the story--""Tweety-Bird"" is dying of cancer, and knows it. Also on the premises or close at hand are: a fluttery English boarder who wears a wig, loves weddings, but isn't an elderly spinster; a young newspaper reporter covering weddings, the while writing an exposÉ, ""Don't Say 'I Do,'"" who becomes her improbable suitor; and his flaky sister, who's currently in thrall to a drug-ridden religious cult. Still another plot-line involves the junior life-saving classes Michael is supposed to be attending, his friend Freddy who is enrolled, and the fat girl who's Freddy's big-joke partner. It's all petty, moralistic, and mean-spirited: the religious cultists are ""creeps"" (equated, besides, with ""radical groups""); reporter Donald's bias against formal marriage (he and fluttery Fifi are set to exchange pledges) is likened to his sister's penchant for running ""away from responsibility""; and as for fat Laurie Lee--not only can Michael ""hardly stand to look at her,"" he can't ""like her just because she has noble ideas.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1980
Publisher: Elsevier/Nelson