Up Country

Alden R. Carter, Author
Alden R. Carter, Author Putnam Publishing Group $15.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-21583-4
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
In the tradition of S. E. Hinton, Carter unveils the sensitive side of a streetwise loner from a troubled background. Carl, 16, electronics genius and social outcast, escapes his alcoholic mother and her entourage of men by moving to the basement. He starts a business repairing stolen stereo equipment for Steve, a local hood. The operation comes to a halt when his mother is arrested and Carl is placed in his aunt's custody. Before he has time to clear the house of incriminating evidence, Carl is sent upstate to a town filled with ``ignorant hicks.'' Much of the novel devotes itself to Carl's adjustment to small-town life and the gradual breakdown of his defenses. From shattered pieces of old dreams, he formulates new plans; but life is disrupted again when his criminal past is revealed. The two locales of this novel, Milwaukee and Blind River, provide an effective contrast and allow fast-paced action to be balanced with quieter, more reflective scenes that focus on Carl's growth. Carter tends both to over-dramatize the evils of city life and to exaggerate the naivete of country people. Nonetheless, he renders an honest, detailed portrait of one young man's struggle to find himself. Ages 13-up. (June)
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