THE GYPSIES NEVER CAME by Stephen Roos

THE GYPSIES NEVER CAME

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here's a quirky and implausible story about sixth-grader Augie Knapp, who was born with a deformed left hand. For as long as he can remember, Augie, who lives with his single mom and her brother in a blue-collar small town in Pennsylvania, has hidden his stump in a homemade prosthesis, a glove that holds wire shapes and cotton balls to fill out the fingers. While Augie can't participate in some activities, he is generally accepted by his peers and has some close friends. Into this scene enters decidedly strange Lydie Rose Meisenheimer—a sixth-grader driving her own convertible yet—who takes an immediate shine to Augie. For reasons that the author doesn't convincingly explain, she seems to see right through Augie the moment she meets him; overwhelms him with squirmingly embarrassing attention; gets him out of a jam when he doesn't turn in a homework assignment; and repeatedly exhorts him to wait till "the Gypsies come" because they will appreciate his hand. The author doesn't make it clear just who these "Gypsies" are or whether Lydie is one herself. Over time Augie starts thinking more and more about them and hoping that they—and the father he never knew—will show up. He also gradually warms up to Lydie and accepts his handicap when she leaves town in a too-pat ending. Perhaps the Gypsies have been inside Augie all along and Lydie just helped his self-acceptance emerge. Readers will appreciate the humor here; they'll like Augie and will wonder whether the Gypsies will, in fact, ever show and what will happen then. But they are bound to be perplexed, too. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83147-1
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2001




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