Covering the winter of 1910-1911, when he turns 17, Sandy Mannix's journal is a sensitive and honest look at the boy's fears and feelings. Working on his cousin's husband's sheep ranch in Wyoming, Sandy wrestles with his ambivalence about his drunkard father back in Colorado, while making his tentative first steps into other, healthy relationships. The cold, loneliness and hard work provide a stark backdrop against which the young man's emotional awakening stands out sharply. Quiet and affecting, Sandy's diary entries read smoothly--reminiscent of a less complex Gary Paulsen--and offer a hopeful, realistic resolution. The lackluster cover doesn't add much allure, but Hamm's novel offers many rewards. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
- Marilyn Courtot
In the early 1900's, Sandy Mannix leaves his alcoholic father in Denver and escapes to a ranch in Wyoming. His story is told through journal entries, and they are filled with his concern with his past and the desire to adjust and be accepted in his new environment. A coming of age story that all readers can relate to.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-10-- A story set in 1910 and told through the journal entries of 16-year-old Sandy Mannix , a boy who has run away from Denver and his alcoholic father to live on a Wyoming ranch with a cousin and her husband, doing odd jobs for his keep. There he finds a real family and friends and does not want to return to the city, but he is concerned about and haunted by his father. He must deal with his father's neglect, his brother's rejection of their father, his mother's death years before, and with trying to grow up. Character development is excellent, causing readers to feel the loneliness of a young man coming of age on his own. The format and style make for easy yet thought-provoking and enjoyable reading. --Kenneth E. Kowen, Atascocita Middle School Library, Humble, TX