Learning How to Fall

Norma Klein, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-05809-3
When 17-year-old Dusty is committed to Nash Hospital, he soon learns that it is safest to play by the rules and not make waves. Following the advice of a fellow patient, he tells his doctors what they want to hear during therapy sessions in order to gain freedom. Although Dusty leaves the hospital, he does not escape his painful memories and muddled emotions. Once home, he becomes bored and depressed until an acquaintance from school, kind-hearted Amelia, lends a sympathetic ear. The friendship leads at first to romance, and then to trouble when glamorous Star, Dusty's ex-girlfriend, reenters the scene. Before he has a chance to sort out the past, Dusty is hit with a whole new set of conflicting emotions: he does not want to hurt Amelia, but cannot resist Star's tantalizing appeal. Many aspects of this story seem contrived and the characters are flat, if not inconsistent. It is questionable whether Dusty attains self-knowledge by the end of the book; there is little evidence that he has faced, much less resolved, his problems. Ultimately, this novel introduces some provocative ideas, but explores them only superficially. Ages 12-up. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
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