Lunch-Box Dream

Tony Abbott. FSG/Foster, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-34673-7
Set in the summer of 1959, Abbott's sophisticated novel explores racial and family tensions, as well as death, through several perspectives. The primary narrator is Bobby, who does not like being around "chocolate" people, and who is on a road trip with his mother and older brother, Ricky, returning his recently widowed grandmother to her home in Florida. As a reward for the long hot drive, they visit Civil War battlefields between Ohio and Florida, feeding Ricky's obsession with the history of that conflict and fueling Bobby's uneasiness around death. Interspersed with the recounting of their journey is the story of a black family in Georgia, movingly told in small fragments by a variety of first-person voices. (The book helpfully opens with a list of the characters and their relationships—an essential resource.) In the final scenes, the separate stories converge, with subtle finesse, in one small, iconic physical gesture. Throughout, Abbott (Firegirl) builds an increasingly disturbing undercurrent of racial conflict, sibling distrust, and marital discord. Although beautifully crafted and written, the book's emotional complexity and unsettling tone will likely prove challenging (in multiple senses of the word) for the target audience. Ages 10–14. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4668-0057-1
Paperback - 178 pages - 978-1-250-01668-3
Audio Product - 978-1-4618-4195-1
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