Grandfather’s will sends a 17-year-old boy on a zany adventure.
Unlike his brother and male cousins, Spencer is not athletic or adventurous. Instead, he’s rather timid, a watcher rather than a doer. That all changes after the reading of his grandfather’s remarkable will, which sends Spencer on a quest to find and get a kiss on the cheek from an aging B-movie actress named Gloria Lorraine. Turns out that Gloria has a larger-than-life theatrical personality, a bulldozer-strong will and an agenda of her own. In the sometimes hard-to-get-a-grip-on madcap adventure that follows, Spencer and Gloria pick up Gloria’s granddaughter, AmberLea (who is under house arrest), and discover that the thumping coming from the back of their “borrowed” Cadillac is being caused by an armed thug and cannoli baker who is tied up in the trunk. In the course of the story, Spencer tangles with Mafia toughs and motorcycle gang members, finding maturity, smarts and personal strength in the process. Like much of the novel, the wingding climax is funny, inventive and hard to follow. The author makes some inexplicable choices affecting reader comprehension. For example, do the two men in Gloria’s young life really need to be named Danny and Davey?
Muddled but entertaining story with a heart of gold. (Fiction. 10-14)