THE HARMONY ARMS by Ron Koertge

THE HARMONY ARMS

Age Range: 12 - 16

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Gabriel, 14, and his dad Sumner fly to L.A. for the summer, leaving his newly divorced mom on a bicycle trip with her boyfriend; Sumner, second-grade teacher and author of a children's book about Timmy, an otter, has a film contract. Gabriel is mortified by the way Timmy, in puppet guise, invades every conversation, private or public; he's also apprehensive about adapting to California after staid Missouri. Indeed, the other denizens of their condo are a touch bizarre: Cassandra, a roller-blading psychic; gentle Mr. Palmer, an elderly nudist widower; Mona, who acts in commercials, and her camcorder- wielding daughter Tess, whose scintillating repartee is as relentless--and as genuinely comical--as Timmy's. What Gabriel learns, in the end, is that people are people, despite the ambience and facades. Meanwhile, there's a rather long getting- acquainted time, effectively buoyed by the offbeat, sympathetically drawn characters, remarkably imaginative imagery and witty dialogue, and the warming relationship between Tess and Gabriel (caught kissing in the garage, their innocence is real, their parents' conservative caveats refreshing). Like Zindel, Koertge revs up the fantastic high jinks toward the end; then, he closes with his own generous brand of informed reconciliation between parents and children. Another strong showing from a fine author; more conventional and realistic than Francesca Block's books about L.A., and it makes a rewarding comparison with them. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-316-50104-2
Page count: 177pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1992




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