August 17, 2006

Free At Last...

(Full props to MotherReader, who suggested I read this novel.)
"When a grown man threatens a little girl," he said, "he does it because he thinks he can get away with it. He thinks that little girl will be too scared to do anything about it, and that everyone she tells will be just as scared. Only this time, he picked the wrong little girl."

It's the summer of the Bicentennial, 1976, in Frita & Gabe's hometown of Hollowell, Georgia, and there's a lot to do. Gabe, along with Frita, is staring fifth grade in the face, and it frankly terrifies him. Well -- fifth grade, Duke Evans, loose cows, Frita's basement, Frita's brother, Mr. Evans, spiders, alligators, robbers, getting lost in the swamp, calling a teacher "Mama" by accident, centipedes -- the list of what scares Gabe King goes on, and on. And on. After getting tied up by two of the sixth grade bullies and missing his own fourth grade moving-up day, Gabe's best friend Frita feels it's high time for him to be free of his fears, and move ahead in life. It's The Liberation of Gabriel King in the summer of 1976, and this quick little novel takes the tale of two good friends; one chicken-hearted, one stout-hearted, one girl, one boy, one Black, one White, and envelops the reader in a true-hearted, funny, scary and happy-sad story that will make readers think and cheer and shiver, and will probably make every middle school classroom's booklist in no time.

No comments: