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Fleischman, Paul. Seek.

Simon & Schuster, Pulse. 167p. c2001. 0-689-85402-1. $6.99. JS*

This ALA Best Book for YAs was reviewed in KLIATT, November 2001 in hardcover: In the form of a pastiche of voices, Fleischman presents the autobiography of a high school senior named Rob, whose life has been shaped by his feelings toward the father he never knew. This man, a Cajun DJ, loved music and Rob's mother, but he wasn't ready to be a parent and left her before Rob was born. At first, young Rob longs for his father, trying to find him on the airwaves by listening to late-night short-wave radio. Then, in middle school, Rob tries to emulate his father, acting as a DJ on his own play radio stations. He is sure his father will show up for his eighth-grade graduation, but when he doesn't, Rob is furious and turns to writing instead of radio. He and his friends create an underground high school newspaper, while Rob tries to come to terms with his mother having a serious new boyfriend. When they marry, Rob is finally able to let go of his anger toward his father. He dusts off his radio equipment, and together with his friends creates a pirate radio station. His father catches one of his shows--and calls Rob up on the phone. He is ready to have a relationship, it seems, though Rob no longer misses having him in his life.

The format, like that of Fleischman's award-winning poetry book Joyful Noise, is unusual but effective, focusing on what the ear hears, telling the tale through aural means. It reads more like a play script than a novel, with snatches of dialogue, brief comments by Rob, his friends and family, and DJ's announcements following one another swiftly, making this a challenging read for some. At the end, Fleischman offers some performance notes, suggesting ways in which the book could he presented as a radio play or in a theater. An interesting idea for the classroom, as well as a powerful reading experience for students who appreciate unusual narratives.
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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