The Taking of Mariasburg

Julian F. Thompson, Author Scholastic $12.95 (258p) ISBN 978-0-590-41247-6
Like Thompson's recent Simon Pure, this book suffers from a self-conscious, sneering tone and one-note characters whose dialogue is indistinguishable from each other and the narrative. And once again, the plot stretches credibility: 17-year-old Maria (pronounced ``Ma-rye-uh'') inherits millions from her unknown father, buys a ghost town in a fictitious western state, renames it after herself and invites a group of her peers to move in and ``find themselves,'' gratis. The Establishment (the kids' parents) doesn't understand Mariasburg or how its inhabitants are ``getting their heads together.'' Maria is almost whipped by Sledge, a religious fanatic, then almost raped by sheriff Omar. Finally, the Establishmentthis time, the statetries to regulate the town out of existence. In the explosive climax, Sledge and his followers blow up most of Mariasburg, kill Omar and take refuge in the town church, where Maria is hidden with boyfriend Seppy. And then the story ends; Thompson seems so confident that his readers will be willing to imagine the ending that he just doesn't bother writing it. Hence there is no resolution of the story's central theme: what really happens to Maria and Mariasburg? Does she win or does the Establishment win? Having been strung along this far, many readers just won't care. Ages 13-up. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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