Love and Death at the Mall: Teaching and Writing for the Literate Young

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Editorial Reviews

The ALAN Review - Donald R. Gallo
Readers familiar with Richard Peck's Anonymously Yours and Don Gallo's Presenting Richard Peck won't find much new here. But this combination of personal history and social commentary-about peer pressure, school authority, family values, and book censorship-contains more of this award-winning author's wisdom and wit than either of those previous books. Readers familiar with only Peck's fiction will gain valuable insights into the backgrounds and contents of his numerous novels while receiving thought-provoking statements about literature-e.g., "Novels need to raise questions no one else is raising in the lives of readers." Readers will also receive a full dose of "Peck-isms"-such as "[T]he drug of choice in adolescence is conformity," and "Humor is anger that was sent to finishing school." This is Peck at his best: trenchant, insightful, nettlesome, playful, and challenging.
Ilene Cooper
Although the subtitle puts this firmly in the category of professional reading, there is so much here to ponder and enjoy, it seems a shame to relegate the book to any sort of a literary box. And while it is true that Peck spends a good deal of time discussing what young people read and why, this is in equal measure a biography, at least a professional one, and incisive social commentary. Teen suicide, peer group pressure, and censorship are just some of the topics Peck lights on with a vision that seems particularly clearheaded in a time when fuzzy thinking abounds. For instance: "More than any previous generation, parents now have reason to fear the loss of control of their children and the loss of their children's innocence. But they didn't lose that control to books. Books aren't that powerful, and their children aren't that innocent." And as those who have read Peck's books know, he can be very, very funny. Here the wit is sly and sharp, as when Peck is commenting on the private school he taught at in the late 1960s: "Students couldn't be asked for absence excuses because they might have been attending a war protest rally somewhere. The debate team folded because there couldn't be two views on the war or anything else." If you don't have a place for this kind of book, find a place for it--even if it's in the adult department--because it's too good to be missed. An excerpt from the book will appear as a "Writers & Readers" column in "Booklist"'s special ALA Annual Conference combined issue in June.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385311731
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Peck
Richard Peck
Richard Peck created Grandma Dowdel in a short story called "Shotgun Cheatham's Last Night Above Ground," which became the first chapter of this book.  He says, "Grandma is too sizable to be confined in a single story, to sizable and mystifying to her growing grandchildren, who in each visit discover in her a different woman."
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