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Bless the Beasts and Children.

BLESS THE BEASTS & CHILDREN. Glendon Swarthout, 1970/2004, Read by Scott Brick. 4 cds. No time listed. Books on Tape. 0-7366-9944-9, $54.00. Vinyl; plot notes. JSA*

Written in the 1960s, this novel has become a classic coming-of-age novel, widely used in high school literature classes. Several misfit teenage boys from upscale but dysfunctional families meet at an Arizona boys' camp. Send us a boy and we'll send you a cowboy, is the slogan. The boys' common bond is their inability to compete and counselors and peers call them "the bed-wetters." One field trip involves witnessing a state-sanctioned buffalo slaughter by hunters. The boys' reaction leads them to a step towards real adulthood: they successfully plot to free the herd.

In a lengthy afterword by the author's son, Miles, he separates the fact and fiction of his father's influential novel. It was based on Miles's attendance at a similar camp. Arizona did allow controlled buffalo hunts, which were protested as inhumane after the novel was published. Other elements in the novel are imaginary. One theme is timeless--outsiders versus insiders. Narrator Brick does an excellent job depicting the characters of the boys. An excellent audiobook.

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.

*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.

Nancy Chaplin, Libn., VCCW, Goochland, VA
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Author:Chaplin, Nancy
Article Type:Audiobook Review
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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