HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Carly’s Buck
Author: Carole S. Adler
Cover Illustrator: Eric Velasquez
Publisher: Clarion Books, 1987
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages13 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Adler, Carole S. Carly’s Buck (Published in 1987 by Clarion Books, an imprint of Ticknor and Fields, a Houghton Mifflin Company, 52 Vanderbilt Ave., New York City, NY 10017). Thirteen year old Carly Alinsky feels that she is rightly angry with her father, who is in the record busineses, because she thinks he had been irresponsible and uncaring when her mother was dying of cancer, so she flees her dad in Los Angeles, CA, to take refuge with her young Aunt Lu and Uncle Ben Weibel in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York where they teach at the Environmental Education Center. While there, she has trouble making friends but begins to like the neighbor boy Chet Graham, also thirteen, who has some family issues of his own. They will be in eighth grade together.
In addition, Carly becomes fascinated by the deer populating the surrounding forests and fastens her emotions on the deer, especially a beautiful young buck, to help her deal with her mother’s death,. However, she is horrified to learn that Chet and his family are hunters who plan to track and kill deer during hunting season. Will Carly ever make any friends at school? Can she and Chet overcome their differences? Does she reconcile with her father? And what happens to her deer? Carly’s Buck is an interesting, if occasionally frustrating, story. The possible negatives are that there is a junior high school dance to which the eighth graders had sneaked in liquor the previous year. Also Chet’s older brother Joe smells of beer, even though he is only in high school, and uses the near-vulgar euphemism “crap.”
However, there are also some positives. As a result of a tragic accident, Carly is forced to reconsider the rage and bitterness that she feels toward her father and her new boyfriend while acknowledging that she herself is not without guilt. At the close, Carly learns to forgive people’s weaknesses, both others’ and her own. Information about the habits of whitetail deer is interwoven through the action. Through the heated arguments of both the ardent hunters and Carly, Adler fairly presents both the pros and cons of hunting. Also, with the underlying issue of how to cope with grief, Adler handles well the strong emotional content of an adolescent adjusting to a parent’s death honest. But the two most interesting issues treated here are forgiveness and the eternal quarrel between hunter and non-hunter.