Dread Locks

Dread Locks

Book - 2005
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Accustomed to a carefree existence, fifteen-year-old Parker Baer meets the girl next door and finds his life taking a menacing turn as he begins to absorb some of her terrible powers.
Publisher: New York : Dutton Children's Books, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780525475545
0525475540
Characteristics: 164 p. ; 22 cm

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FindingJane May 13, 2015

Mr. Shusterman conflates the fairy tale of Goldilocks, that unrepentant little housebreaker, with the myth Medusa, a creature out of ancient Greek lore. Bowing to no one’s rules save her own, Tara comes off as being, well, just a touch boring. All humanity has burnt out of her long ago and all that’s left is her insatiable hunger, her simmering anger against her own kind and her yearning for a partner in crime. She fascinates but only in the way a snake or scorpion does—with the recognition that you’re in the presence of something not quite like yourself and possibly menacing as well.

If, as a character in the play “Jeffrey” once stated, evil is boring and one note, Tara definitely fits the bill. All the signs are there: the ignoring for human rules, the certainty that these rules aren’t meant for those like herself, the consideration of human beings as being nothing more than food and violence being the only way she has of dealing with threat or attack.

So, robbed of any consideration for the Gorgon cast adrift in the modern world, all our attention and sympathy focuses on young, rich, bored Peter Baer. But, since he’s spoiled rotten from the very start of the novel, Mr. Shusterman has his work cut out for us to see him as sympathetic. He doesn’t quite succeed since Peter succumbs to the seductive yawning abyss of Tara’s hunger just a little too easily.

In the end, he redeems himself but at such a price all you’re left with is a faint sense of relief, too dim to be triumph, too numbing to be despair.

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