Monday, January 12, 2009

Alden Carter's Walkaway

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.


  1. Anonymous8:50 AM EST

    I agree about this one, Ms.Y. I read it and was absorbed - Andy was real - and then I read the reviews... I appreciate so much this honest exchanging of opinions about the way book reveals itself to different people. I don't think I am ready to post about this but the days of the elite review sources may be ending as the community of readers writes their voices loud in this sphere. Thoughts?

  2. Thanks for this suggestion. I enjoyed BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. I have to check this one out.

  3. Many thanks for the kind comments. It's nice to know that some readers are appreciative even if the "official" reviewers didn't much care for the book. I wonder how they might react to my long out-of-print novel WART, SON OF TOAD (1985), recently reprinted by Marshall Cavendish Classics. A lot of my other older novels have also been out of print for years. I still have copies of a few of them, including hardcovers I set aside for libraries. Send me an email, and I'll see what I can do to fill whatever needs you have. Again, many thanks, Alden (Al) Carter Please visit my website at