If Rock & Roll Were a Machine

Terry Davis, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15 (209p) ISBN 978-0-385-30762-8
Davis ( Vision Quest ) sets up numerous subplots in this novel of Bert Bowden's coming-of-age, including conflicts between the 16-year-old and his father, his struggles to overcome the damage resulting from ostracism by an elementary school teacher, his sexual fantasies, his love of motorcycles and his education as a writer. However, he sidesteps the most important conflict in Bert's life--that with his father--and focuses instead on Bert's longstanding hatred of the vindictive teacher. Unfortunately, even this subplot is not fully resolved. Despite considerable buildup, Bert's former instructor merely walks away when the showdown finally comes--what should have been the climactic scene disintegrates at its crucial moment. While the teacher's reaction to Bert's challenge may be psychologically realistic, Davis's handling of it proves a letdown, making his novel generally unsatisfactory. This is especially disappointing since Bert is a very likable hero with a great sense of humor; he deserves a better vehicle. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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FORMATS
Mass Market Paperbound - 224 pages - 978-0-440-21908-8
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