Permanent Connections

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9781889199023: Permanent Connections

This powerful novel, named to the Amercian Library Association's Top 100 Countdown -- The Best Books for Young Adults -- is about a teenaged boy who has been moving through high school in New Jersey, trying to mask his unhappiness with a haze of drugs and alcohol. Now, forced to spend a semester helping relatives in rural North Carolina, he feels trapped. Even falling in love doesn't stop him from going on a final, self-destructive spree. But the crisis makes him realize his actions don't exist in a vacuum -- and that permanent connections can offer comfort even to those who feel utterly adrift.

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About the Author:

Sue Ellen Bridgers is the author of seven novels for adults and children, many of which have won major fiction awards. She lives in North Carolina, where many of her novels are set.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 10-12 Rob Dickson moves through his high-school years in a haze of drugs, alcohol, and unhappiness until his life is subtly changed by his encounters with his family's past. When Rob is forced to spend time with his injured uncle, his agoraphobic aunt, and a senile grandfather on their small holding outside of a tiny town in the Appalachian mountains, he responds with surly rudeness. He breaks rules and is eventually arrested for smoking marijuana while driving on a mountain road. While this plot summary may seem to reflect the trite problem-novel scenario, Bridgers has once again infused a topical subject with rich use of language and tone. The characterizations of the unhappy Rob, his equally unhappy girlfriend, Ellery, and the various minor characters in the book are excellent, providing vivid insights into their lives and troubles. Bridgers does not settle for a simple point of view, but instead allows readers to walk in Rob's shoes while gradually introducing Ellery's point of view and occasionally even that of her mother, a woman who is trying to make sense of her own life. Descriptions are masterful. One chapter which decribes Ellery's mother's meditations as she weaves is a heartbreakingly lovely use of metaphor. Some readers might be put off by harsh language and the issue of drugs, but these are carefully integrated into the story of Rob's slow acceptance of himself and the people around him. There is no miraculous happy ending here, but instead a clear and healthy beginning of understanding. Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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