Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mock Printz or Newbery: Defining Dulcie by Paul Acampora

Title: Defining Dulcie
Author: Paul Acampora
ISBN: 0803730462
Starred Review: April Booklist and PW
Defining Dulcie is about a sixteen year old girl who just lost her father. Just that sentence made me want to put the book down and avoid it, but I'm glad I didn't. This isn't just about the death of a parent, it's a book about growing up and realizing that the world doesn't revolve around you. Dulcie was very close to her father. She even worked with him at the local HS where he was a janitor and her gandfather was in charge of maintenance. After Dulcie's father dies, her mother decides that she cannot stay in this town. She wants to move to California and reinvent herself. Dulcie deals with this though she is unhappy about leaving home and her grandfather and her father, even if he is in the ground. When they get to California and her mother wants to trade in her father's pickup for a little car, Dulcie has had enough. This is the truck that she and her dad rebuilt together in the HS autoshop. SO at night Dulcie takes her mom's creditcard and the truck and drives back to CT. The balance of the book is Dulcie's summer with her Grandfather working for free at her old job as punishment for stealing the truck and worrying her mother. Over the summer she meets Roxane, an older teen, who her grandfather hired in her place nad who knew her dad. Quickly Dulcie realizes that there is something going on at Roxane's house....something that makes her fights with her mother seem childish.

There are themes of grief and loss through out this book and it's great at showing that different people need to grieve in different ways. Dulcie's mom had to get out of town and away of ther memories, but Dulcie needed those memories and needed the safety of home to deal with losing her father. Woven through the grief that Dulcie deals with though are also themes of growing up, of looking outside yourself to really SEE other people. The ending was somewhat unrealistic, but it fit the story perfectly. It was the happy ending that everyone needed.

One other thing I loved about this book is that it does what all those "SAT Novels" try to do. There is great vacab in it and at times the characters even stop and define the words out loud to each other or to themselves in interior monologues. There is also a ton of quotes and saying and deper layers of meaning if you feel like digging into the story. This truely is a book about a teenager finding herself and defining who she is.
Reviwer: Latricia Batchelor, Tenafly

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i read this book for my english class. I thought it was great- there were some lol parts and some grieving parts. It may not have had the most realistic ending-but it was perfect. paul acampora really did a great job with running the parts together smoothly and i felt as though i was dulcie at some places. very good read! i think the theme is finding yourself and being happy with who you are