The Heroic Life of Al Capsella

The Heroic Life of Al Capsella

by Judith Clarke

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All Al Capsella wants to be is normal. But in spite of his heroic efforts, he faces a crippling pair of obstacles--his parents.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

The title of Clarke's first novel is misleading; Al's ``heroics'' are a vague reference to his tolerating his somewhat off-center parents--``The Capsellas are a real liability.'' (Throughout his narrative, Al indicates his detachment by referring to them only by their surnames.) The boy is deeply concerned with appearing ``normal'' to others, but the fanciful Mrs. Capsella--a writer of romance novels who wears hippy-style clothing--renders this hopeless. It's not until Al accompanies his mother on a visit to her parents, a rigidly structured, conservative, yet quirky pair, that he appreciates Mrs. Capsella as she is. Although the time is the present and the setting a suburban Australian town, Al comes across as a low-key Holden Caulfield. Quietly humorous in places, the book, like The Catcher in the Rye , emphasizes the main character's internal musings, and is more episodic than plot-driven. The pace may slacken occasionally, but the engaging, perceptive Al is a fellow worth knowing. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

School Library Journal

Gr 8-10-- Al Capsella, 14, is concerned about how others view him and desperately craves normal parents and a normal life. But his parents are anything but normal, especially his mother, who writes Woman's Journal stories, dresses weirdly, and acts decidedly eccentric. Al is constantly embarrassed by these oddballs. Clarke captures the typical feelings of an adolescent boy very well, but she has Al tell his story with deadpan humor. The climax of the book comes with a visit of Mrs. Capsella and Al to his maternal grandparents, Pearly and Neddy Blount. In this household Al discovers what ``normal'' is with a vengeance. The picture Clarke gives us of the Blounts must be some of the funniest writing to be produced in recent years; readers are sure to be amused by the portrayals of teachers, including the school librarian, who ``came out from America and got her iron grip on the place.'' The Australian setting should pose no problem for American readers, for the family and school incidents are universal. --Ronald A. Van De Voorde, Graduate Library School, Univ . of Arizona, Tucson

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781743140048
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Publication date: 10/08/2012
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.90(d)
Age Range: 12 - 14 Years

Customer Reviews