Reviewed By Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite
I truly enjoyed the book and felt that it told a terrific story. You portrayed Anthony’s younger years with warmth and compassion and provided him with many opportunities to rise above his circumstances. As he grew up and began the relationship with Rita, it was portrayed naturally and innocently in its own way and, again, provided opportunity for Anthony to grow, mature and understand himself. I really appreciate the way you allow Anthony to restrain himself in so many different situations and not ‘go with the flow’ – do what everyone else is doing because of peer pressure. It is also important later in the story as his daughter is intimidated by her fear of how others will react to her, so Anthony’s experiences are a good background from which he can provide understanding and guidance.
The characters are realistic but I feel that they may be a bit too good. Jamal and Anthony are great friends and race is never an issue. Kay’s parents are attractive, wealthy and very nice. At least Kay is more natural in that she never will forgive Sue Ellen. Even Anthony is easily convinced to return to school after his mother’s death and after Rita is tried and convicted – he quickly accepts the guidance of others. This creates a rather shallow feeling about the characters although each of the scenes provides a worthwhile example or lesson even though they are wrapped up nicely before the next situation arises.
My main concern is that so much of the end of the story deals with Jackie and her ‘coming out’. All of a sudden the story is no longer about Anthony – he happily accepted his daughter and went on his merry way while she continues to deal with her feelings and acceptance from her grandparents.
As you can see from the other ratings, I found the book to be very good overall, especially for young adults, but the ending needs to finish Anthony’s story.