Voss: How I Come to America and Am Hero, Mostly

David Ives, Author . Putnam $17.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-399-24722-4

With his delusional uncle and morose father, bighearted 15-year-old Vospop leaves behind his homeland, Slobovia, to chase the American dream. Too bad that he ends up being chased also—by a feared Slobovian black marketeer and by a fellow Slobovian immigrant whom he is “fated to marry, no matter what.” Writing a series of letters to a friend, in broken English and nonsensical Slobovian, Voss recounts his “dipp, dipp trobbles” and tosses off his observations––“In America it is O.K. if your friends are boring or deep-pressed. All you do is take out celephone and talk to somebody else instead.” The language, the nutty plotting (it includes a nurse named Jane Ashcroft who presides over a sinister hospital) and even nuttier sendups of classic stereotypes (luckless immigrants, greedy businessmen, self-absorbed teenagers) are enough to make readers roar with laughter. Yet Ives (Scrib ) delivers a pointed social commentary that not only steers clear of cynicism but preserves its narrator's sturdy idealism. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/20/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
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