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Posted September 26, 2007
BORDERLINE is a book that works on so many levels that it is almost unclassifiable. It is a genuinely warm, tender, humorous coming of age story while at the same time being a novel that is smart, informative and illuminating in the fields of genetics, autism as an increasingly proliferating condition, fast food and obesity as national crises, and the overemphasis of pill-popping for invented childhood and adult disorders. Sounds like too much information to compress into one book? Not in the deft hands of author Bonnie Rozanski! For all of the intelligent and interesting information the book contains, the story itself is an amazingly fresh novel, written with great style and sensitivity, a novel than will appeal to just about everyone no matter the age group. Guy Ritter is a twelve-year-old son of a geneticist father, an activist mother, and Guy happens to have a five-year-old brother Austin who is an autistic child. Guy feels extraneous in this family whose focus is on controlling autistic Austin, he has little tolerance for school, and finds some consolation in his obese best friend Matt. Guy's father runs a lab of genetics research, the current project being how to breed wolves to become like docile dogs, and when Guy is finally invited into his father's work life, Guy falls in love with animal # JX104 whom he gradually wins over as a friend and changes his scientific name to 'Wolf' - his new best friend. Guy's life is complicated by his mother's blind devotion to autistic Austin (she is convinced the autism is due to a vaccination!), by Matt's broken home and Matt's grossly obese father who is addicted to junk food from Hamburger Haven (a habit that results in a crisis), and by a distant father whose concerns are dedicated to his scientific work which nearly excludes Guy from existence. The story builds very coherently with mounting tensions on multiple levels (each level a significantly important social malady) until Guy coerces Matt into freeing the soon to be exterminated Wolf from his father's lab of cages. Then with the unexpected help of Austin and the courage to do what is 'right', a completely new beginning to Guy's dissociative life comes into focus. It is the manner in which Rozanski relates her story - through the eyes and experiences and perceptions of a 12 to 13 year-old boy that makes this a novel of consuming interest. It is beautifully constructed, insightful, sensitive, and entertaining, all the while addressing many issues that are puzzling the public today. It has all the earmarks of a lasting and successful novel. Highly recommended. Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2007
As she did with Banana Kiss, novelist Rozanski drew me into the story of Borderline, so much so that I didn't want the book to end. Guy is an average pre-teen/teenager, dealing with the normal pangs of growing up. What's different for him, however, is that his younger brother Austin has autism 'or to quote Guy's naïve interpretation, 'austinism'' and Guy has become an invisible member of his family. Surprisingly sensitive, Guy develops a friendship with a wolf at his father's lab, claiming he has done so because he knows the wolf needs him and doesn't have anyone else - mirroring Guy's own experiences thus far. The reader is provided with the opportunity to live Guy's life from his eyes, seeing what he sees, and experiencing what he feels. I was most enthralled by the link between autism and the work that Guy's father does at his lab, especially the exploration of environmental changes and its impact on behavior. I was also intrigued by Guy's parents and how they each dealt with Austin's autism. Guy's best buddy Matt and the doctor who ultimately brings Austin out of his shell were other very compelling characters. Rozanski's second novel is as magnetic as her first. I highly recommend Borderline for adults and teenagers alike.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.