THE GREAT COMPUTER DATING CAPER by T. Ernesto Bethancourt

THE GREAT COMPUTER DATING CAPER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Eddie Ramirez, a North Hollywood high-school senior, lives with his folks in the home of stern Grandpa Avilas--an ""old-fashioned Mexican"" tax-accountant who looks down on Eddie's lovable father Cisco, who's had a string of bad luck with some good business ideas. So, when Cisco comes up with a surefire design for a 40-miles-per-gallon carburetor, Eddie'll do anything to get Cisco the $5000 needed to develop the invention. He'll even join in on pal Jody's idea for ""a dating service for dogs""--with Eddie and Jody themselves dating all the homely, fat, shy girls who send in cash and computerized questionnaires. (They use the home-computer belonging to Jody's dad, a Marine Corps. recruiting officer.) But, though the scheme's a financial success, nice-kid Eddie can't help feeling guilty about taking advantage of the girls--who turn out to be sweet and vulnerable (with one exception) beneath their too-fat, too-tall, defensive exteriors. Even worse, he genuinely falls for computer-date Linda--whose only drawback is a stammer. And when Linda learns the truth about the dating service, she and her angry father alert the media and the police: ""TEENAGE SEX-FOR-PROFIT RING BARED!"" Unhappy ending? Not even close. Grandpa Avila, formerly so disapproving, stands up for his entrepreneurial grandson, helping to get all charges dropped. (There was no sex, after all, and the girls did get dates.) Cisco's carburetor wins him a solid job at last. Best of all, Eddie will now get to go to business college--as Grandpa's computer-wise apprentice--though ""there'll always be a part of me that's Cisco. A part of me that wants to serenade a lady and dance on the lawn in the moonlight."" An artificial sit-com, with pat resolutions all around--but good-natured veteran Bethancourt keeps it all light and fast, deftly skirting the more distasteful aspects of that date-a-dog notion.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1984
Publisher: Crown