A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
David's brother, Tyrone, is on the path to drugs and gangs.
Violence & Scariness
Reuben strikes his son. A lynching in the past is described. Reuben's unpredictable and sometimes violent behavior might be unnerving for some children.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
David's parents wonder if the old man has touched him inappropriately.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drugs and drinking are mentioned. It's implied that Tyrone is using and/or dealing drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the author raises more questions than he answer in this quiet novel about a boy trying to deal with an increasingly messy home life.
Is It Any Good?
This compelling novel of an empathetic boy's 12th summer is a bit like David's summer vacation: It wanders a bit, at times seems to lose focus, and doesn't seem to get much of anywhere. By the end of the story, not much has changed -- except David, who has deepened his understanding of and sympathy for his father.
Punctuated with vivid moments, especially Mr. Moses' stories, it holds readers through the vague, unresolved suspense that David feels every day as he watches his family fall apart and wonders why, and what he can do to save it. At times poignant, at times didactic, it raises many questions that are unresolved, and ends realistically. Though the situation hasn't really changed, David has grown, and therein lies hope.
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