No Kidding

Bruce Brooks, Author
Bruce Brooks, Author HarperCollins Publishers $14 (207p) ISBN 978-0-06-020722-9
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
After peeking back at the '60s in Midnight Hour Encores , Brooks takes readers into the next century, to a world that has some very specific extremes, but, in other ways, has changed very little. Sam, 14, has placed his younger brother Ollie with a foster family for a year, after committing his mother to Soberlife, a treatment center for alcoholics--who make up 60% of the population. Sam and Ollie's father, a member of a fire-and-brimstone religious group, the Steamers, left years before. Now Sam is ready to let his mother out, to find out if she is ready to have Ollie back or if the younger boy should be signed over to the foster parents permanently. Sam's control over everyone is a running theme of the book; but in a denouement that is as debilitating as it is surprising, Sam finds that if he has grown up too soon, he still needs some nurturing--and discovers it from a most unexpected source. The first chapters of the book seem to deliberately throw readers off, forcing them to examine each word and phrase for clues as to the time and place of the story. But as the intricacies of each character's personality come into play, the setting matters less. Brooks reveals his canny understanding of the complexities of human nature, and brings off an emotional tour de force that is as harrowing as it is real. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
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