SHADOW BOY by Susan E. Kirby


Age Range: 12 & up
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 An extraordinary journey inside the mind of a boy, slowly recovering from a skateboard-car accident, who may never regain his former mental capacity. From sensation to jumbled, symbolic dreams of an earlier time when his grandfather was alive, Artie begins to piece together his personal puzzle. Around him in the hospital, people talk too fast; Artie can't find the words to answer their questions even when he does understand. He feels: even after his sight clears and therapy has strengthened his ``half legs,'' he responds more to emotion than to the actual words of his doctors and his family. Taken to a home he recognizes as not his grandfather's, Artie begins to mourn his lossesGrandpa and his beloved dog are dead, his best friend no longer visits, his father is sometimes embarrassed and sad. Though he loves ``clown words'' and finds a new friend, Artie's frustration and anger grow as the ``shadow boy'' he used to be dances just out of reach, at the edge of his consciousness. Though Artie's parents' and sister's viewpoints are somewhat uneven here, their desperate attempts to survive the changes in Artie and to understand how lucky they are to have him still are well portrayed. Other characters (e.g., the new friend) may be less well developed; still, a rare, convincing glimpse of an inner landscape that will move and change those who view it. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-531-05869-7
Page count: 153pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1991