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SCRIBBLE by Richard W. Jennings

SCRIBBLE

By Richard W. Jennings

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-43367-8
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

“That’s the thing about missing somebody who’s not coming back. . . . It’s like trying to live without food.” Thirteen-year-old Lawson is grieving the loss of his best friend, Jip; when his terrier Scribble barks at nothing one day, Lawson draws the only logical conclusion: it must be ghosts. Lawson is a classic Jennings protagonist, alienated from his parents, possessed of a voice far older than his years, and driven by pure, unshakable faith: not only does the Afterlife exist, but he can somehow, with the help of Scribble, access it to communicate with Jip. Jip is not immediately forthcoming, but with the help of the shades of Sam Walton, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Nat “King” Cole, Lawson does manage to move through his grief to resolution. Darker than previous novels, the wry text is suffused with the anguish of one left behind. The narrative moves back and forth from the present to Lawson’s days with the terminally ill Jip, his matter-of-fact narration by turns funny and achingly sad, the arbitrary nature of life and death—and life after death—mining the surreal for truth. (Fiction. 10-14)