Rob's Place

John Rowe Townsend, Author Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-07258-2
Townsend admirably attempts to portray the seriousness of a boy's emotional problems, creating a real world with a compelling voice at its center. Rob, 11, is lonely and confused, and turns to an imaginary tropical island for solace after a series of changeshis parents' divorce, his mother's remarriage and new baby, his best friend's moveleaves him friendless for the summer. At first the island, peopled by Rob's favorite literary characters and starring himself, lives up to its name, Paradise Island. As visits by Rob's father decrease and as Rob feels more pressure from his mother and stepfather to adapt, the island assumes aspects closer to its second name, Perilous, and the literary characters become more familiar, and more real. Just when it seems that Rob has a new friend and his father might be settling into a new life, the island takes over, with frightening results. After such a complicated and remarkable set-up, it is hard to believe that Rob's problems with reality are not far more serious than the story's resolution implies. Still this is an imaginative and thought-provoking depiction of a boy's struggle to adjust. Ages 9-13. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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