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THE ANGEL FACTORY by Terence Blacker


by Terence Blacker

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-85171-5
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Driven by plot and theme, this British import features a 12-year-old boy who discovers that angels right here on Earth are asking for his help in saving humanity from itself. Thomas Wisdom may be preppy and blonde, but he isn’t bland in the way his parents and sister seem to be, effortlessly gliding through their lives. His discovery that they are angels and he has been adopted propels Thomas into a search for his own origins. At the crux is the question of whether he will choose to remain human or give up free choice and join the angels, thereby agreeing to do whatever he is assigned. Never very convincing realistically, the presence of the US president chatting with Thomas verges on the ludicrous. Nevertheless, the earnest tone and the emotional outpouring of Thomas’s thought processes make clear that comedy was not intended. The way in which Blacker sets readers up with stereotypical assumptions about angels being blond and blank of character prior to yanking that away without any preparation in the story feels manipulative. It’s almost as though having given the clues to reinforce those assumptions he wants to blame readers for having made them. None of this is religious, as the angels are more like aliens than adherents to any God-given morality. It’s the plot twists and the possibilities of angel power that provide the suspense. What food there is here for discussion—free will, adoption, good and evil—is like most junk food: superficially appealing and not terribly satisfying. (Fiction. 10-14)