Griffin, Adele. Sons of Liberty. Illustrated by Peter McCarty. Hyperion, 1997. ISBN 0-7868-0351-7. $14.95. 176 pp. A 5+ FI Reviewed by Tom Wright Rock Kindle is caught in a quandary: does he remain loyal to his father and stay with him, or flee with the rest of the family? This would be treason in his father's eyes, and the image is not lost on Rock. A self-taught American Revolution expert, Rock views most events in this revolutionary context. His father, commander-in-chief, demands total obedience. Rock and Cliff, his brother, have endured many “interrupted nights” in their ramshackle summer cottage not suitable for New England winters. These “nights” consist of spontaneous jobs that their militaristic tyrant of a father concocts for them. Their mother has gradually withdrawn into a state of agoraphobia, while younger sister Brontie is nonplused by her father's ranting over her occasional bed-wetting. Griffin poses a difficult question: at what point is it justifiable to break up a family? Rock broods over his duty to family, while the solution is more black and white for Cliff. Griffin contrasts this scenario with that of the boys' friend Liza. The boys help her run away to the big city to escape her physically abusive stepfather. This solution does not satisfy, and they are racked with guilt contemplating the fate of a thirteen-year-old runaway walking the big city streets. The author does not paint a pretty picture of family. The story reads well and suspense builds. Will younger readers connect or confuse these truly aberrant characteristics with their own family idiosyncrasies? Perhaps that's not a fair question. They shouldn't have to. This would be a good, yet difficult, discussion piece.
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