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Yumoto, Kazumi. The Friends.

YUMOTO, Kazumi. The friends. Tr. by Cathy Kirano. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 170p. c1996. 0-374-42461-6. $6.95. J

From the review of the audiobook in KLIATT, March 1999: Three sixth graders, Yamashita, Kiyama and Kowalee, become obsessed with death and want to see a dead body, so they follow an old man who they assume is about to die. They see him go to the local store and find that he is not eating properly. Yamashita feels sorry for the old man and gives him sashimi; Kiyama cleans up the old man's garbage. Their attention makes the old man more energetic and he teaches them useful skills. They in turn find the wife he abandoned during the war. The old man dies in his sleep and the boys discover his body; death loses its horror for them.

This coming-of-age story is true to the human verities of the heart. Japanese children deal with the same problems as children face in America--a mother who drinks, giggling girls, taunting peers, a bitter divorce, prep school stress, finding a place in the world. Janet Julian, English Teacher, Grafton, MA

KLIATT uses the following codes to help readers determine if the material reviewed is appropriate for their needs:

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.
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Author:Julian, Janet
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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