Buddy Love Now on Video

Ilene Cooper, Author HarperCollins Publishers $13.95 (183p) ISBN 978-0-06-024663-1

Buddy Love has only two real interests in life-watching girls and watching television. A couch potato whose insights and conversational topics are gleaned largely from talk shows, Buddy is roused from passivity when his family wins a new video camera. Determinedly mastering the necessary technology, Buddy interviews friends and family for a school project. As he maneuvers his camcorder around the house Buddy unearths unexpected family stories, including the startling revelation that his cantankerous live-in grandmother was once a Russian spy. On the other side of the TV screen, as it were, Buddy develops the self-confidence that allows him to stand up at last to his bullying sidekick Ron and to defend a girl who has been ostracized by her classmates. His emergence from a nondescript eighth grader into a more thoughtful and active figure puts a new spin on the old ``TV is bad for you'' argument. The story itself, however, feels thin, relying on the sort of superficial TV humor and plotting that Buddy is supposed to have outgrown. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
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