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The rope walk /

Carrie Brown.

Main Author: Brown, Carrie, 1959-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Pantheon Books, 2007
Subjects: Girls > Fiction.
African American boys > Fiction.
Friendship in children > Fiction.
Intergenerational relations > Fiction.
AIDS (Disease) > Patients > Fiction.
Bildungsromans.
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Review by Booklist Review

Her mother having died when she was an infant and her five older brothers now off to college, Alice realizes, on her tenth birthday, that she is lonely. Fortuitously, on that very day, she makes two new friends who will--as often happens in coming-of-age novels--change her life. Theo, a mixed-race boy about her age, has come to visit his white grandparents, and the two children quickly bond. Elderly Kenneth, a less-likely friend-to-be, is a celebrated artist who, terminally ill with AIDS, has come home to live with his eccentric sister. Alice is soon impressed into service to read to Kenneth, whose eyesight is failing. The book she chooses, the journals of Lewis and Clark, has symbolic value, reflecting the journey of self-discovery that Alice and Theo will share. Though Brown brings a formidable intelligence and elegant sensibility to her carefully executed literary novel, the result sometimes seems like required reading. Happily, any hint of fussiness is redeemed by her generous-spirited and energetic creation--in Alice and Theo--of two engaging and memorable characters. --Michael Cart Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Like Brown's first novel, Rose's Garden, her sixth sets themes of tolerance and understanding in a picture-postcard setting. In a Vermont town where a description of the local library racks up a dozen adjectives (including "tall," "bracing," "rippling," "silvery" and "delicious"), children collect butterflies and recite "Hiawatha." When Kenneth Fitzgerald, the artist who sponsored the library's transformation from dreary to spectacular, returns to his childhood home dying of AIDS, he asks 10-year-old Alice MacCauley and her neighbors' manic visiting mixed-race grandson, Thelonious Swann- "a tawny little lion cub"-to come by and read to him in the afternoons. Alice's mother died young; her father teaches Shakespeare and recites it around the house (while her older brothers blow smoke rings), so Alice is primed for literature. All three are drawn into Lewis and Clark's journals as Alice reads them aloud; the explorers' historic journey stands in for Fitzgerald's journey toward death and for Alice and Theo's trip into nascent first love and adulthood. The rope Alice walks isn't very high off the ground, but Brown keeps it taut and stretched across some engaging vistas. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

In this latest from Brown (Confinement), ten-year-old Alice MacCauley enjoys an idyllic if motherless childhood in quaint Grange, VT, surrounded by five adoring, much older brothers and gently guided through life by Archie, her professor father. Alice's self-contained curiosity meets its match when Thelonius Swann, also ten, joins their household for the summer while his family struggles with debilitating crises. Alice and Theo have an imagination-rich friendship that extends to Kenneth Fitzgerald, a world-renowned sculptor who has returned home, dying of AIDS. The children spend the summer building a rope walk through the woods near Kenneth's home. Intended as a gift to Kenneth to give him back some of the freedom stolen from him by the ravages of his disease, it is the catalyst for a shattering event. It takes a masterly touch to make believable Alice's maturity and her unfiltered forthrightness when telling her story. Brown's exquisite word paintings of the details of childhood are tone-perfect and utterly irresistible. Prepare for renewed interest in Brown's previous novels. Highly recommended.--Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Alice MacCauley and her family are celebrating her 10th birthday. As the guests arrive, readers are introduced to neighbors, friends, and family, all of whom have hidden prejudices and anxieties. Theo, the biracial grandson of Alice's father's friends, is supposed to be visiting his grandparents, but by the end of the evening he is sharing Alice's bedroom and will become a fixture in her family for the remainder of the season. Over the course of the summer they share secrets, befriend a dying artist, and learn more about suffering, humanity, and intolerance then any child her age needs to know. Together they try to make sense of the world, particularly of how adults think and why people hate the way they do. One of the lessons Alice learns is that the most heartfelt intentions can produce the most tragic results. Teens looking for an angst-filled novel will find that this one asks many questions about life and relationships without providing any pat answers.-Joanne Ligamari, Rio Linda School District, Sacramento, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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