4 out of 4 stars
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Runaway: A Tragedy Of Youth by Peter Alpert is a book in the contemporary fiction genre. Alpert bases this book off of a case he encountered as a lawyer earlier on in his career, but he changes the names of all parties involved in the case.
Jim Carson is a 16 year-old boy. He achieves good grades, and his peers all like him. On the outside, Jim has a good life; however, secret tensions in his home life wears him thin, and he decides he would be better off away from his family. He steals his parents’ car, money, food and a couple of guns and runs away in the middle of the night. Things do not go as Jim plans on the road, and one mistake changes his life forever.
This book is a really quick read. It is only about 164 pages, and I flew right through it because of how engrossing the story is. I read it in one sitting. I could not put it down! The book is very straightforward. The writing style is not flowery, but it is not dry. The author has a talent for making a subject that could be very dry, if placed in the wrong hands, very interesting.
The story is told from the point of view of Jim’s lawyer, and this gives the book a very factual feel. This is not a bad thing because readers cannot be swayed by Jim’s internal thoughts because we are never put inside his mind. I never questioned what I learned about Jim because the author does not sugarcoat Jim’s actions. At times Jim’s actions made me hold my breath because I desperately hoped things would turn out differently than I thought they would. Even though the book has a very factual feel, I felt so connected to Jim’s story. He’s just a kid, who makes a terrible mistake, and I couldn’t help but feel emotional about his story.
I really enjoyed getting to know Jim through the eyes of his lawyer, but there were other characters I could not stand. Jim’s parents, Richard and Beth, are so clueless about what their son feels, and they have no idea what is actually going on in their son’s life. I wanted to reach through my Kindle and give those two a good shake to snap them out of their delusional states. I do not hold my distaste for these two against the author because he is only merely explaining the actual personalities of these people.
What I really enjoyed about this book is the purpose behind it, and the attention it calls to how the legal system treats juveniles. The author points out how too often kids are locked away for life, and this book shows how quickly kids lives can change after one impulsive and irrational decision.
I give Runaway: A Tragedy Of Youth by Peter Alpert 4 out of 4 stars. I would give it 5 if I could. I recommend this book to anyone interested in juvenile law and parents looking to protect their children. The fast-paced and engrossing story earn this book 4 stars.
Runaway: A Tragedy of Youth
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