Buffalo Tree

Adam Rapp, Author
Adam Rapp, Author Boyds Mills Press $15.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-886910-19-5
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993
Release date: 03/01/1993
Paperback - 188 pages - 978-0-06-440711-3
Paperback - 188 pages - 978-1-932425-99-4
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-24612-5
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-06-001226-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-10498-2
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Rapp (Missing the Piano) draws readers into the nightmarish world of a juvenile detention facility as his narrator, incarcerated for stealing hood ornaments, recounts his day-to-day battle to survive abuse and dehumanization. Twelve-year-old Sura, his language heavily seasoned with slang and expletives, is searingly articulate in describing the horrors of Hamstock Boys Center. These range from head lice outbreaks to pummelings by other ""juvies"" to sadistic forms of punishment administered by guards, teachers and deans (""If you get carped enough they'll send you to Dean Petty and they say he's got a two-foot paddle with air holes. I ain't seen it yet, but they talk about it the way you talk about boogymonsters and sharks""). Two of Sura's ""patch mates,"" weathering the worst cruelties, are pushed beyond their limits, and one of them commits suicide by plummeting from a tree. Sura endures his six-month sentence, but the impact stays with him after his release: ""You get that old feeling back up in your bones--just for a second.... You get that feeling that the night's got something up its sleeve for you. Even if it's during the day you get that feeling."" The author's graphic images and use of first-person, present-tense narrative makes Sura's hellish story all the more real and immediate. Ages 12-up. (May)
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