Goofbang Value Daze

Julian F. Thompson, Author Scholastic $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-590-41946-8
Readers who delighted in the tart blend of black humor and burning idealism found in Thompson's The Grounding of Group Six are likely to be disappointed by his latest novel. The plot is not without potential: a trio of zealots is elected directors of the town's schools, promising a return to ``good, old-fashioned values.'' Students' behavior is scrutinized, and a required course on values is instituted. Gabe and his girlfriend Dori are among the few kids who realize that the new system violates their constitutional rights. Unfortunately, the events of the book are described in an irritating, wisecracking voice that tries too hard to be hip; such a glib tone doesn't make the novel's self-satisfied characters any easier to like. Unlike most of the buffoonish people in their town, Gabe and his allies are never seduced by the school directors' rhetoric, making the ``danger'' of the new regime's philosophy hard to take seriously. What's more, these villains are so broadly satirized that they seem silly, not frightening. The melodramatic events that set the townspeople back on course seem tacked on merely in order to provide an action-packed finish. Ultimately, the novel's flaws lessen the impact of the timely material it deals with. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-590-41945-1
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