Shakedown Street

Jonathan Nasaw, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (197p) ISBN 978-0-385-31071-0
Caro, 13, and her sweet-natured, utterly naive mother have spent Caro's entire life drifting from one alternative community to the next. After financial fraud destroys their latest residence, Guru Ganjaji's Paradise Village, Caro and her mother set up camp under the on-ramp of a San Francisco highway, along with a rather coyly eccentric group of homeless men and women. With the advent of cold weather, the street people move into a deserted house in Berkeley and Caro returns to school, where, in one of the many far-fetched developments that characterize this story, she resumes her friendship with wealthy Teri, a pal from the ashram. Neither the coincidences nor the heroine's misfortunes end here: on her own after the Berkeley squat is razed, Caro is nearly raped (but is rescued in the nick of time), then almost becomes a prostitute (but is saved at the 11th hour by Teri and a surly but good-hearted homeless friend). Caro's first-person narrative remains inexplicably perky and glib right up to the sunny ending. Nasaw's ( Easy Walking ) peculiarly upbeat treatment tends to trivialize very serious issues. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993
Release date: 10/01/1993
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 978-0-385-30951-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 197 pages - 978-0-440-21930-9
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