cover image Behaving Bradley

Behaving Bradley

Perry Nodelman. Simon & Schuster, $16 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-689-81466-2

Poor Brad! The hapless Winnipeg 11th-grader is laboring under the delusion that rewriting the Roblin Memorial High School Code of Conduct will actually cause students and faculty to treat one another-and him especially-with respect. Instead, he learns two classic lessons: the more things change, the more they stay the same; and appearances can be deceiving. Nodelman's (The Same Place but Different) hyperbolic novel teems with wicked caricatures of familiar targets: ""fat-assed phys ed teachers... going on about the joys of physical activity which they selflessly restrain themselves from actually experiencing""; a platitude-spouting Language Arts teacher who declaims, ""Poetry is life! The essence of living!""; a faculty adviser who leers at a comely student. There's not a single sympathetic adult in irrepressible Brad's world, and his fellow students aren't much better. Unfortunately, the lampooning is not enough to sustain a full-length novel, and the chief plot line, about an anonymous enemy who wants Brad to drop his Code of Conduct project, isn't all that compelling. There are a lot of witty moments, just not much holding them together. Ages 12-up. (July)