Jack Lund figures a good day is when his dad's too drunk to beat up his mom.
For Jack, Bogg's End is the end. The end of the turbulent, see-saw years of watching his father go on the wagon and fall right back off gain. Once it took two years, but the inevitable inevitably happened. Now it's just Jack and his mom starting over in the strange old house his grandfather left them.
But the ride's not over yet. Jack's father returns, full of apologies and promises, and for a little while, things are looking up. Then in one terrifying, sickening moment, everything comes crashing back down again.
So Jack runs. He runs through a strange hidden door that takes him back in time to before his parents were born. Before he was born. Maybe with a second chance he can stop the inevitable. At least he's got to try. What Jack doesn't understand, though, is that he can't change his future until he faces his past.
Ingenious plotting and startling action combine to make this time-travel thriller a riveting read. Trying to escape from his violent father, Jack and his mother move into his late grandfather's mysterious house in Memory, Minn. There, the 13-year-old discovers a door that can hurtle him 50 years into the past. In the present day, Jack's father is rampaging: he calls the boy's mother a "hardheaded bitch," breaks her fingers and eventually kills her with a baseball bat. Jack escapes through the time-travel door, planning to wait 50 years and prevent the crime. Unbeknownst to him, he is becoming entangled in his own family's ugly history: past and future are irremediably entangled. Jack's strange destiny takes him from the bloody battles of WW II Guadalcanal to a government-run mental institution, where he suffers amnesia and a drug-induced type of catatonia. The only real flaw in this feverish page-turner is the pedestrian heaviness of the dialogue. Hautman, the author of three adult novels, can otherwise be commended: his structure is sophisticated without ever overwhelming the reader, and mined with surprises that explode like fireworks. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
February 28, 1998
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