The H from the sign snapped loose when Leary's father swung on it happily at news of his son's birth. Now 14, Leary likes people: he sees in them, and records stories they don't always know they are telling. Leary himself is a story, and this collection of 30 poems shares it with a winning offhandedness of voice.
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The ``H'' in the hotel's sign has been missing since his exuberant dad accidentally pulled it down when Leary was born. Through poetry's prism, this son of ``flower children,/Woodstock lovers--'' offers his boyhood observations--some nostalgic, some very contemporary: ``They weren't sure/who pulled the trigger:/Becky, tired of being beaten;/her mother, hungry for calm;/or the dead man himself, careless with drink.'' Leary finds himself part of a sensual world that includes a nightclub singer who sometimes seems to warble just for him; an embalmer who dances with all the ladies; Alice, who asks Leary to read aloud from her bodice-ripper romance; Becky, the girl he loves; and a hot-rodder with a knack for women. It's also a violent world: a bully ends up in a wheelchair; a vet confronts the memory of buddies lost in Saigon. The rhythmic, unrhymed stanzas flow like good conversation, lagging or hurrying to suit the mood, leaving readers to fill in from their own experience. Leech's broad b&w brushstrokes evoke the setting and characters in full-page art, varied with smaller vignettes. A perceptive stroll through one boy's adolescence, sure to please and gratify Janeczko's fans. (Poetry. 12+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7-12-Bittersweet lyrics that ring true to the voice of a sensitive teenager awakening to the complexities of life. These 30 poems are written from the point of view of the son of now-grown flower children who own the Stardust Hotel (the "H" came off when his father swung on it on the day of Leary's birth 14 years earlier). The verses describe the tenants of the hotel, as well as the boy's parents, friends, and neighbors, forming a mixture of ordinary people and extraordinary characters. Leary comes to know the undertaker who loves to go out dancing; the lady barber who fixes her '57 Chevy as a hobby; and "The Prince of the Dump" who salvages treasures. Also, Leary describes playing ball, the restitution of a bully, taking a dare to kiss an angel headstone, and other more typically youthful activities. As in the author's Brickyard Summer (Orchard, 1989), this volume provides brief, careful portraits of individuals in a small community. Like Cynthia Rylant and Mel Glenn's poems for YAs, Janeczko's pieces invite young writers to try their hands at describing people they know.
Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Scholastic, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0531054985
Book Description Orchard Books 1993-01-01, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9780531054987B
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