cover image The Monument

The Monument

Gary Paulsen. Delacorte Press, $15 (151pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30518-1

Rocky, an adopted, partly lame teenage girl, tells how a memorial to her small Kansas town's war dead came to be built and how her vision and those of the other residents were altered by the monument's artist. When Rocky first encounters Mick Strum, he is filthy and disheveled, sleeping off a drinking binge in his dilapidated car. But she is magnetically drawn to this unlikely seer and from him learns to observe freshly and to develop an artist's eye. In contrast to Paulsen's customary action-packed adventures, this novel is chiefly about ideas--featuring characters whose primary function seems to be expressing concepts about art and the artistic process. As such, the story has an over-intellectualized, sometimes pedantic air and may disappoint readers hoping for the gritty realism, veracity and raw power of Paulsen's best works. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)