A HOLE IN THE WORLD by Sid Hite

A HOLE IN THE WORLD

Age Range: 12 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The legacy of one man’s character on his survivors is explored in this Southern coming-of-age tale. Sixteen-year-old Paul has been sent, over mighty protests, to spend the summer on a distant relative’s farm as punishment for lying. But once there, he rapidly becomes involved with work and with the lives of the farm’s many quirky characters, all of whom are mourning deeply the death of a farmhand the year before—in the words of the beautiful Rebecca, his passing has left “a hole in the world.” The missing man was noted for his rock-solid integrity, and Paul quickly finds himself striving to emulate the dead man’s ways. The various members of the farm’s extended “family” are presented with sympathy and humor, each one honestly and openly sharing his or her grieving with Paul, from the ancient Granny Furr down to Einstein, the truck-chasing dog. But while the secondary characters are enjoyable and well defined, Paul is somewhat less so, morphing from resentful teenager to an honest-almost-to-a-fault and really rather boring young man in fairly short order. Furthermore, Hite (Stick and Whittle, 2000, etc.) frequently loses his ear for voice, resulting in a third-person narrative that distances the reader from the text. Sentences like, “Paul’s body rejoiced in the restorative repose of sleep the second he hit the bed,” and “ ‘That goes ditto for me,’ Paul gushed, expressing but a fragment of what he was feeling inside,” simply call attention to themselves rather than creating mood or character. With more diligent editing, this could have been a well-realized story about grieving and growing up—unfortunately, it isn’t. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-09830-0
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001




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