CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 34 . . . . May 4, 2012
Caroline Adderson tells the emotional story of Curtis and his five-year-old brother Artie. When Curtis and Artie's mother does not come home from her evening job at the gas bar, the young brothers try to manage on their own. Nevertheless, the boys cling onto hope for her return: "[o]n a scale of one to ten, ten being the most likely, I would have ranked mom being there when we got home from school on Monday as a ten. Maybe a nine, but no lower than that".
Curtis especially tries to conceal his mother's absence from Artie's teacher because he knows that, if the truth comes out, it will result in their sentence to foster care. But as the situation worsens and the young boys cannot afford to pay the apartment rent or manage on their own, Mrs. Burt, the old woman from across the street, takes Curtis and Artie under her wing, and the three of them hurriedly escape to the wilderness in her 1957 Chevy Bel Air. The compelling narration paints sympathetic portraits of Curtis and Artie, their fear of foster care, and their maternal void.
As the boys and Mrs. Burt spend the summer in the remotely situated cabin, the plot unfolds into a captivating story that engages the reader into the realm of heartache, skepticism, hope, and compassion.
I would highly recommend Middle of Nowhere for school and public library collections. With depth and meaning, Adderson writes on coming of age and finding a sense of belonging. She poignantly chronicles the tribulations and triumphs of Curtis, Artie and Mrs. Burt.
Natalie Schembri resides in London, ON.
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