Getting Even

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Maggie no longer knows whom to listen to when Corky, the school pest and principal's nephew puts a hairball in her sandwich and extorts peppermints from classmates. Her parents, divorced, have differing opinions: Maggie's father proposes ``getting even,'' while her mother, still hurting from the divorce, scorns any advice he offers. Maggie's own friend, Iris, has good ideas that often backfire; Corky gets off the hook in the end. For readers, whatever happens at school doesn't really matter, for Maggie's troubles seem to be a vehicle for her parents' continuing argumentsespecially her mother's. So much of the book is angry; this anger motivates most scenes either in an open or underlying fashion and is never dissipated, only temporarily assuaged. Maggie is the sounding board for her mother's rage and instrument for her father's methods. All she gets in the end is a ``Sorry'' and a hug. Tender and funny moments get pushed aside by the parents' concerns; this simply isn't Maggie's story, nor is it satisfying. Ages 9-12. March
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7 Fifth - grader Maggie is being victimized by the class bully who takes advantage of the fact that he is class clean - up captain and the nephew of the school principal. Maggie's ``enfant terrible'' friend, Iris, pushes Maggie to get even. Reluctantly, Maggie adopts Iris' revenge plan, which backfires. But Iris goes even further, with the result that she and Maggie are suspended briefly from school. This development precipitates a catharsis between Maggie and her mother, whose resentment of Maggie's father's swinging life-after-divorce has been straining relations with her daughter. Jukes does a good job of dramatizing family relationships; by far, the best passages concern the mother-daughter interaction. But the school scenes are silly, superficial, and at times border on bad taste. The adults at school, with the exception of a sympathetic librarian, are portrayed one-dimensionally as overgrown fifth graders who at times behave in an unbelievably slapstick manner. Maggie has it out with her mother believable and maintains, against all reason, her friendship with Iris unbelievable. If Maggie has gained some degree of maturity as a result of her trials, Iris has not. She remains an incorrigibly precocious, willful, and rude pre-adolescent. Both character and plot development are flawed, and the theme is overshadowed by the unrelentingly juvenile behavior of several key characters. Judy Blume's It's Not the End of the World Bradbury, 1972 deals sensitively with family breakup, and Constance Greene's Your Old Pal Al Viking, 1979 successfully combines humor with insight concerning the themes of peer and parent pressures. Tess McKellen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394825939
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/22/1989
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years

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