Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Dave at Night - Gail Carson Levine

Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction
Published on September 8, 1999
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 288
Read From: 1.20.12 - 1.24.12

The year is 1926. Dave's beloved father is dead, and his stepmother doesn't want him. Only the HHB will take him in. Hebrew Home for Boys. Hell Hole for Brats. Dave is tough, a troublemaker. He can take care of himself. If he doesn't like the Home, he'll run away and find a better place to stay. Only it's not that simple. . . . 
From the poverty of New York City's Lower East End to the hope and magic of the Harlem Renaissance, Dave seeks his way - and is astonished by what he finds.


This was not my favorite out of Levine's books, is only because the storyline was a little vague. It was close to a "lifetime" story, and lacked that magic spark which make her other books pop with life. Still, it contains Levine's classic humor, has a sort of life of its own, and the writing style is, as usual, very good. Dave is a protagonist who is difficult not to like; he's quick-witted and sticks up for himself and his mates. It's easy to sympathize with his unhappiness when his stepmother dumps him at the orphanage and none of his relatives support him. While it may seem that Dave spends far too much time moping about how no one wants him, he's justified in his feelings, and he really is not a "feel-sorry-for-me-please" character.

Despite its not being as good or as interesting as Levine's other books, Dave at Night is still a wonderful addition to any collection, and the era it takes place in is always fun. Levine's writing brings the Harlem rhythm to life that makes the Reader feel like they are actually there, listening to the musicians jam together.

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