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Kevin Major.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1987.
134pp., cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 0-385-29584-7. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Springsteen, Bruce-Juvenile fiction.
Divorce-Juvenile fiction.
Parent and child-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson.

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

Major's present offering consists of fifty-one letters written by fourteen-year-old Terry Blanchard to Bruce Springsteen over a seven-month period.

Terry writes to the American rock superstar, he says, because "there's nobody I really feel like talking to" and "my old man and you must be about the same age." The latter point is significant, for Terry's father had abandoned his family some six months before to play in a country music band, leaving Terry to share an apartment with his working mother and younger sister. Realizing that Springsteen will likely never reply, Terry sees his letters, which generally range in length from one to four pages, "getting to be almost like a diary," though, oddly, the letters sometimes include lengthy passages of direct conversation.

The letters' contents consist of the egocentric stuff of adolescence: teacher problems, poor grades, anxieties over girls, physique and being different, dreams, idealism and loneliness. The theme of a boy's trying to "find" his father runs through Terry's correspondence. The adult Springsteen serves as a role model for Terry, but Terry also finds similarities between the singer's adolescence and his own, including Springsteen's alienation from his "drifter" father. Frequently, Terry mentions specific Springsteen songs that had significance for him, and readers who have access to the lyrics will find the book's meaning enriched.

Although aspects of a subplot involving a school lip-sync contest seem contrived, the book is a most worthy addition to middle school and young adult collections.

Dave Jenkinson, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.
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