Monkey Tag

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A near-tragic accident redefines the relationship between identical twins in this uneven novel. Playing with a group of friends, 12-year-old brothers Thad and Eli Martin indulge in a forbidden game of monkey tag, which involves swinging hand-over-hand along the steel girders underneath the high school bleachers. A terrible spill paralyzes Thad from the waist down, leaving Eli consumed with guilt and with aching doubts about the existence of God.The religious themes are handled somewhat clunkily; the Martins go to church regularly but don't know how to help Eli with his anger at God, and dialogue often sounds more like snatches of a '50s TV show than the conversation of a real family. However, Fromm (Indian Creek Chronicles) renders the family's struggle to deal with the aftermath of the accident with honesty and authenticity, and he draws the relationship between the boys tenderly yet grittily. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Although the premise and beginning are interesting, this coming-of-age novel drags on endlessly. Thad, a seventh grader, is paralyzed in a fall from some bleachers during a game of monkey tag with his twin brother, Eli. Eli feels guilt for his part in the near-fatal accident and vows to help him walk again. Eli's belief systems, especially his notion of God, are severely challenged as his prayers seemingly go unanswered. While he struggles with his philosophical problems, Thad makes a slow and painful journey toward recovery. With his brother's support, his wheelchair gives way to braces, then crutches, and finally he is able to shed even them. While Fromm tackles timely and critical issues, the book suffers from wooden, underdeveloped characters and trite dialogue. It fails to give readers new insights into either faith or sibling relationships.-Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT
Kay Weisman
While playing monkey tag (a forbidden game that involves swinging on the supports beneath the high-school bleachers) with his 12-year-old twin, Eli, and some friends, Thad tumbles through the metal framework to the ground. He survives, paralyzed from the waist down. Meanwhile, Eli endures a wide range of emotions (fear that he may be partly responsible for the accident, guilt that he still can walk and run, and anger that God could allow such a tragedy) that leads to uncertainty about his Catholic faith. Questioning one's beliefs is the real focus here, and, curiously, Eli's doubts are as debilitating as Thad's physical disability. Although Thad eventually recovers his ambulatory powers, Eli's faith remains shaky. A thoughtful, if somewhat lengthy, story that will probably appeal most to parochial school audiences.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590465250
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1994
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2002

    Monkey Tag Will Get Your Adrenillne Pumping.

    Monkey Tag has two protagonists that start off the story. Their names are: Chad and Ele. They are both brothers that are normal, but they sometimes get into mischief. They always end up playing at places that they shouldn't be playing at. They usually play Monkey Tag almost everyday, but one day something in particular goes wrong.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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