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The PostcardReview - The Postcard
by Tony Abbott
Listening Library, 2008
Review by Christian Perring
Jul 8th 2008 (Volume 12, Issue 28)

This mystery novel for young people has surprising psychological depth.  When his grandmother dies, 13 year old Jason goes down to Florida to help his father clear out the old house, while his mother stays at home and continues to work.  Their marriage is not going well, and Jason's father seems angry and despondent.  Jason finds out that his father was an orphan, and does not know who is father was.  His father is drinking during the middle of the day and at the funeral, his father breaks down crying.  Jason never knew his grandmother well, and she seemed confused and to invent bizarre stories when she was in her final years.  Soon Jason's father is out of commission in hospital after an accident, and Jason is on his own, with the task of tidying up and throwing useless junk out from his grandmother's house.  He gets involved in an adventure, finding out about his grandmother's life through stories hidden away in different parts of old houses.  He makes a new friend, a girl his own age called Dia, and together they solve the puzzle.  The novel is distinctive because of the writing style of the stories they find, full of the dry humor of Chandleresque prose, and the strange cast of characters they tell about.  In the end, Jason finds hope for his father by discovering the truth of his past and enabling him to establish a better sense of identity.  The Postcard is a quirky book that won't appeal to all young readers, but it will intrigue those with an ear for different literary styles and a liking for complex mysteries. 

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© 2008 Christian Perring

Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York


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