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Lubar, David. Dunk.

LUBAR, David. Dunk. Houghton Mifflin, Graphia. 260p. c2002. 0-618-43909-9. $6.99. JS

To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2002: Summer at the shore sounds idyllic, but 15-year-old Chad is unhappy. He lives near the beach in New Jersey year-round with his hardworking waitress mother; she is divorced from his long-gone father. The memory of his father's shiftlessness makes Chad angry; he's not too pleased with the world in general, in fact, and wishes his mother would let him take a real job. But when he watches the performance of the new Bozo at the dunk tank, expertly heckling victims on the boardwalk, Chad acquires a new ambition in life; instead of being "a loser," "I wanted to shout and scream at the world from the safety of a cage. I wanted to be the Bozo." This new Bozo turns out to be Chad's mother's new tenant, Malcolm, a professor of theater with a sad past. Chad and Malcolm edge with difficulty into a relationship that eventually becomes almost father-son, as Malcolm instructs Chad in the fine art of becoming a Bozo. But there is more to Chad's summer than just becoming a Bozo; he gets into some trouble with the police; his best friend is diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and Chad finds that laughter can heal as well as sting; and he finally works up the courage to ask a girl out, and to convince his mother to let him take a job.

Lubar, author of the fantasy Hidden Talents, tells an engaging story, with believable and interesting characters and witty dialogue. He portrays the world of the boardwalk with affection and a keen eye for detail. Readers will be pleased when Chad's troubled summer ends happily, with increased self-confidence and finally, a hard-won and triumphant turn at being a Bozo. Paula Rohrlick, KLIATT
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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