Crescent Moon

Alden R. Carter, Author
Alden R. Carter, Author Holiday House $16.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1521-2
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-0-590-29882-7
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Set in early-20th-century Wisconsin, Carter's (Up Country) disjointed novel establishes 12-year-old Jeremy as a witness to the waning of a way of life. The depletion of the logging supply, the dwindling of the Chippewa Indian population and the fading of Uncle Mac's woodcarving craft create an atmosphere of loss. Jeremy's growing interest in Uncle Mac's carving of a wooden Chippewa maiden serves as a not-altogether-convincing symbol for his relationship to the changing times. Unfortunately, as the novel gets underway, flat characterizations and Jeremy's passive point of view distance readers from the darker emotional undercurrents. Often the plot advances through didactic and contrived dialogue. The most affecting narrative thread concerns Jeremy's twin friends, Eddie and Willie, who must work in the mills after their hard-drinking father is injured; however, readers may balk when Jeremy's do-gooder father refuses to help the twins. The pacing picks up midway, when Jeremy masquerades as a wealthy half-wit to enable union organizers to sneak on a logging train bound for healthy forests. Those who contunue through the sluggish beginning will be rewarded with a climactic conclusion and tidy epilogue. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)
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