This book is an absolute must for middle school and possibly high school libraries. Equal parts problem novel and adventure story, it will appeal to boys on many levels.
Andy's father, a successful lawyer, cannot control his drinking. From time to time, the family stays in the backwoods of Wisconsin, where the father's drinking is supposed to get better, but it doesn't. It falls to Andy to try to rein in the drinking, drive his father places, and cover up for accidents. This does not help Andy's state of mind, which is already fragile, since he is reluctant to take the medications he uses to control his mental illness. At one point, the pressure at home is too much, and Andy takes off into the woods to get away.
Just read the official reviews of this, which included thoughts that it was plodding, dated, overly descriptive, and lacked character development. I just didn't see this. What I liked was Andy, despite his problems, and his perserverance. Even running away is something that he does because he somehow thinks this will help him cope. The father's actions are rather interestingly drawn, and there were friends, acquaintances, and other characters that I thought helped make the whole picture of Andy's struggles clear. Carter's Between a Rock and a Hard Place is almost worn out, and I just requested his Up Country, which I have somehow missed. Worth looking at, but I'm going to process this one right away.