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Gr 9 Up
An account of an accident unfolds slowly, in lyrical prose, from the voice of an unnamed narrator. As one of four boys in a car that runs down a pedestrian late one snowy night after a party, the 16-year-old makes observations that are erratic and clouded, not only by his own drunkenness, but also by the troubled teen's somewhat skewed view of the world. The driver, Duane, an arrogant rich kid, is a teammate and nemesis of the narrator's older brother. Kyle is dating Duane's sister Emily and the brothers also learn that Duane's father was once in love with their own dead mother and hated their absentee father. The hit-and-run incident fuels antagonism between the families, as Kyle wants to do the right thing by going to the authorities and Duane's father wants to use his wealth and influence to cover it up. The stream-of-consciousness writing style somehow diffuses the power of the accident and a gun-wielding showdown at Duane's house but draws empathy for the narrator's heartbreak over his mother's death, father's abandonment, and a secret crush on Emily. His thoughts are fluid and woven together, offering alternate scenarios that suit his own needs and imagination, such as one in which his father shows up at a basketball game. While Duane and his father get their just deserts, the more satisfying ending is the poetical narrator coming to terms with his past and looking to a brighter future.
—Vicki ReutterCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Posted November 19, 2008
WHAT HAPPENED begins with an apology. The narrator admits that what he is about to tell may seem "erratic" because that's the way his mind works. Readers will find the tale that follows does wind and weave through past and present, but as a whole it represents the troubled path of the narrator's life. <BR/><BR/>First, their mother dies, then their father disappears, and now the sixteen-year-old narrator and his brother, Kyle, live with their Aunt Lucy. Life hasn't been easy, and it's about to get even more complicated. There is a hit and run accident that involves the teens, some friends, and a man on a bicycle. Should they call the police or attempt to cover-up their crime? <BR/><BR/>Facts of the story become twisted and more complex as the brothers discover secrets about their mother's past relationship with the father of a friend. Aunt Lucy admits her knowledge of the past as she tries to help the two answer questions about their mother's death and why their father left. Although some questions are answered, the story mimics real life with its loose ends and untidy conclusions. <BR/><BR/>Peter Johnson takes his readers into the mind of the narrator for a glimpse into the life of a troubled teen. Life is definitely not a chronological series of events neatly catalogued by date and time. Johnson's story illustrates the crazy, jumbled order that makes up our daily lives.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.