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Sure Max loves his folks (as well he might; how many parents would take his transformation of a kitchen chair into a sculptured porcupine with such affectionate equanimity?) and enjoys helping out at their genial deli, but he also wants some time to himself so upon high school graduation he moves into a one-room studio (formerly a garage) in a run-down neighborhood and begins creating ingenious constructions (described here in wonderful detail) out of junk he scrounges from trash piles. (His first project, a structure of oversized hanging salamis and cheeses made from discarded tires, is the MWD of the title though not the one his dad had planned to stake him to.) Before long Max has made some good friends of both sexes and all ages (the youngest being two Chicano brothers he steers out of trouble and into junk sculpture), and -- after an accident in which he breaks some ribs and wrecks the Continental of a rich great uncle he doesn't even know -- they all pitch in to help him transform pieces of the car (the uncle called it Angela) into a gigantic statue of an angel. The finished work so impresses Uncle Sig that he offers to buy it, and seems in the end about to become a sort of patron to his nephew. This last is almost too much, but on the whole MWD is such an agreeably particularized daydream that whether you're 12 or 42 you'll wish you were 18, making junk sculpture in an old garage with friends like these.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1972
Publisher: Little, Brown