The Walls of Pedro Garcia

Kevin McColley, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15 (100p) ISBN 978-0-385-30806-9
Pedro, 12, has long shunned childish things and considered himself a man, despite his grandfather's cautions that he may yet have much to learn. The boy decides to confront the wealthy estate owner for whom he and countless others labor, demanding the man tear down a wall that he believes to be dangerously weak as well as unsightly. When Pedro is rebuffed, his unbreachable arrogance finally crumbles, seeming to augur well for his behavior henceforth. McColley's first novel is marked on one hand by an uncommon theme--the need to learn humility--and by passages of lyrical, imagistic writing, mostly in dream sequences interspersed throughout the action. The book is weakened, however, by a tendency toward didacticism and heavy-handed repetition--the boy's insistent stoicism quickly grows tiresome, presented as it is in countless remarks about what ``men think'' or how they behave. A further shortcoming is the message: muddled, ultimately, in that it fails to distinguish between healthy pragmatism and powerless compliance. An absorbing if uneven debut. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993
Release date: 02/01/1993
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