30 August 2011

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman; Meg Wolitzer

The Fingertips of Duncan DorfmanThe Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Years ago a friend donated a copy of a book to the library in which I worked. This book was supposed to boost SAT scores by giving students access to the "15-cent word" vocabulary they'd need in context, so all over the pages were words underlined to indicate HERE IS AN SAT WORD. Oddly enough, no one every borrowed this book, even those avidly preparing for the exams. Why do I mention this? Because this book feels the same to me: let's get kids into Scrabble, fitting a story in around lists of two-letter words (I'm not kidding, there are six pages of word lists in the first section of the book) and anagrams. Word nerds may pick it up, but finding a bigger audience may not work.

I also thought that the adults were rather caricaturish, and the kids (who were definite stereotypes) would have been far more interesting without the overlay of Scrabble. As for the plot, the non-Scrabble-related conflicts are resolved after the Big Tournament in a rather perfunctory manner. That's too bad, because had this not been characters and plot slotted in to promote the author's plot device, I could have really enjoyed getting to know Duncan, Nate, Maxie, Lucy and April.

ARC provided by publisher.

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