Gruel and Unusual Punishment

Jim Arter, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-30298-2
Arnold Dinklighter logs more time in Mr. Applin's detention room than any other student. Friendless, impoverished, with a father who vanished three years ago and a sweet but mentally unbalanced mother, Arnold battles his raging anger by misbehaving in school. And although quite intelligent, the boy virtually ignores his studies and is forced to repeat seventh grade. Arnold thinks he has finally acquired a friend in the sullen and decidedly odd Edward Straight, but the new student's clash with Mr. Applin results in a shocking murder attempt. Arter's first novel dramatically portrays the varying levels of emotional dysfunction. The otherwise grim text is effectively offset by humorous dialogue and Arnold's droll first-person narrative. Readers will surely be rooting for this convincing and (despite his shenanigans) sympathetic character. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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