Dakota Dream

James W. Bennett, Author
James W. Bennett, Author Scholastic $14.95 (182p) ISBN 978-0-590-46680-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 144 pages - 978-0-590-46681-3
Prebound-Sewn - 182 pages - 978-0-606-07407-0
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Although foster child Floyd Rayfield, a lonely 15-year-old, knows little about his origins, he is certain of his destiny after he dreams he is a Dakota warrior. Determined to ``become'' a Native American, he changes his name to Charly Black Crow, stops wearing shoes and begins practicing ancient rituals--all of which leads to trouble with the ``system'' run by school authorities, house parents and psychologists. Following a series of unsuccessful foster placements and a brief stay in a mental hospital, Floyd runs away to a Sioux reservation. There, during a vision-seeking quest, the troubled teen comes to terms wth his past, present and future. Woven into this delicate story are themes echoing those of Bennett's first novel, I Can Hear the Mourning Dove , especially the sharp criticism of institutions and large bureaucracies that ``get so they serve their own needs rather than the people they're supposed to help.'' A diverse yet precisely drawn cast includes Floyd's deadbeat roommate, his overly optimistic social worker and Mrs. Grice, an inflexible house-supervisor who makes Cinderella's evil stepmother look good. Bennett's astute novel demonstrates enormous sensitivity. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
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