Most helpful critical review
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, Fast-Paced Adventure (But A Bit Formulaic)
on June 10, 2002
Nathan Bailey had the life we wish nobody had to endure. Orphaned, raised by an uncle plagued by personal demons, committed to a kiddie jail (primarily on the testimony of said uncle), and became a fugitive from the law all before reaching his teens. It's easy to sympathize with Nathan as Mr. Gilstrap included many small details so unique to adolescence. The way Nathan is portrayed to think and act are very much in character for a young man, albeit a VERY contientious one. Most of the other characters were not given the same descriptive attention, unfortunately. They're servicible and believable, but somewhat flat.
While reading Nathan's Run, I couldn't help but think policemen were given a bad rap in this book. I doubt that Mr. Gilstrap has a vendetta against cops, but they are (with two exceptions) made to look incompetent, manipulative, career-driven, and cruel. There is one particularly tense scene in which Nathan, smaller than normal for his pre-teen age, is brutalized by three policemen at once. I understand that some may be necessary to advance a plot following a fugitive, but this stereotyping felt like the stuff of 100 Bad Cop movies.
Since this is a suspenseful tale with a young man at its center, I also believe Mr. Gilstrap alienated what might have been a massive audience, young adults, with generous portions of gratuitous profanity. It was, in my opinion, largely unneccessary to have nearly every character have an extensive 4-letter vocabulary.
Still, Nathan's story is absorbing and tense to the last page. Emotions crescendoed to such a peak in the final scene that if I weren't riding a city bus with my goatee'd "big-guy" image to uphold, I might have cried. Honestly.
My recommendation would be this: it's good, but not destined to be one of the "greats". Pick it up if you're in the mood for a fast-paced thriller.