Brushy Mountain

Patricia Pendergraft, Author Philomel Books $14.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0-399-21610-7
The meanest man alive is surely Tice Hooker, an old man who lives among the folk of Brushy Mountain, so Arny sets out to kill him. Old Man Hooker has been mean to everything and everyone Arny loves, throwing an old woman out of her low-rent cabin, cursing anything in his path and killing Arny's pet, a turkey named Gobble. But every time Arny goes off to murder Hooker, he ends up saving the old coot's life. Even an attempt to kill the man by dynamiting the outhouse at an appropriate moment goes awry, and Arny becomes a local hero for rescuing the man he most wants dead. Summarized, it all sounds odd, but Pendergraft paints this earthy love-hate relationship with the scrappiest of brushes, delivering a town-full of eccentrics and kindly folk who discover that they can do the most harm by being falsely helpful, and the most good by living by their deepest instincts and impulses. The book's one unintended rough edge may be Old Man Hooker's late, abrupt redemption, but readers will forgive that amidst the other twists and jolts the plot offers. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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