My Crooked Family

James Lincoln Collier, Author, John JR. Collier, Author Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing $15 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-74224-9
Although 14-year-old Roger Hardy's life of crime starts small (he heists a bucket of fried rice), the boy has played a key role in two major robberies by the time this novel is over. Collier ( The Winchesters ; Outside Looking In ) does an excellent job in portraying the poverty, hunger and abuse that drive Roger to illicit activity, and his novel--set in an unnamed city in the '20s--is suffused with a flawless sense of place. However, he fails to transform Roger's fall into anything more than a tale of unrelenting victimization. Although the book has all the trappings of a classic coming-of-age story, Roger never achieves a satisfactory degree of self-awareness. When asked how he got mixed up in so much trouble, all he can say is, ``I don't know. It just worked out this way,'' rendering the story far more depressing than illuminating. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Paperback - 978-0-671-86693-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-62064-688-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-9821-7
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