BUDDY IS A STUPID NAME FOR A GIRL by Willo Davis Roberts

BUDDY IS A STUPID NAME FOR A GIRL

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Instantly compelling, this is the story of two siblings who find themselves abandoned and evicted from their home. Buddy, 11, is sent to stay with estranged relatives in Montana, while her brother Bart, 17, sets off to solve the mystery of their father, who has vanished while starting a new trucking job. Buddy is uncomfortable in the madcap, financially strained, and crowded home of her doting Aunt Cassie and sharp-tongued Aunt Addie. Gus is Cassie’s husband, a barely functioning alcoholic who is resented by his son Max, and Grandpa’s dementia keeps the family on their toes. Buddy is disconcerted when she finds a photo of her father with his arm around Aunt Addie. She feels even more wretched when Aunt Addie links the disappearance of Grandpa’s money to Ellabelle, her now deceased mother. Meanwhile, Bart travels down the California highways as he gets closer to finding their father, dead or alive. It is a windfall of good fortune when Buddy finds the missing money, Bart saves their father, and Aunt Addie sells two manuscripts. Excluding Buddy, who lacks intensity, the characters are fully drawn and engaging, but this is supposed to be Buddy’s story. While Roberts is not at top form, this has stories within stories, but is more a look at family dynamics than one of her fine mysteries. She does use her characters to touch on the subjects of alcoholism, codependence, poverty, and the enduring influence of family. But the issues tend to outweigh the plot, making this a less-than-satisfying whole. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-81670-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2000




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