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Walk Away Home Hardcover – October 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802788289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802788283
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,319,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A strong narrative voice combined with a unique setting and eccentric characters propel Many's (My Life, Take Two) novel, despite some rushed plotting. With his parents on vacation, Nick walks across the state to visit his wild aunt Wanda on a funky commune-type farm. He hopes that Wanda and his parents will let him stay for the school year so he can avoid military school (he was kicked out of his last school for, among other things, accidentally setting fire to Wanda's former house). Nick rekindles his relationship with Wanda, gets a job at the doughnut shop where she works and bonds with his new community. He also befriends Diana, from a neighboring development, whose own troubles threaten to get Nick into more hot water. In his interspersed "foot notes," Nick explains his obsession with walking ("When you walk, everything is connected to everything else... no quick cuts like in commercials"). Diana tells him during a fight that he also uses walking to avoid conflicts. Nick's not the only one with problems: Wanda must face her own irresponsibility when she's fired from her job, and Diana is worried her sexually abusive father will attack her sisters. That's a lot to solve during one summer, and the plotting's pace is somewhat erratic (for example, Diana's transformation from playing pranks on the "hippie" farm to becoming a full-fledged member of their community seems sudden). Ultimately, the commune's exuberant celebrations, Nick's heart-to-heart talks with Wanda and funny, honest narration will keep readers along for his journey. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8-10-During the summer between his junior and senior years in high school, Nick sets off on foot across his Midwestern state, trying to leave behind his cold home life and the prospect of a year at military school. He ends his trip at his aunt's home, a communal living situation peopled by middle-aged ex-hippies whose land is being encroached upon by a ritzy housing development. Nick and his aunt are old buddies and soon he has a job as well as a place to stay while he considers his future. The development, however, is home to a gaggle of nasty teens who periodically vandalize the hipsters' property-as well as to Diana, whom Nick works hard to get to know. By midsummer, she has decided to get her younger sisters and herself away from her abusive father; Nick willingly aids in this project, all the while rethinking his own family dynamics. Many is a skillful storyteller and the amount of adventure-both physical and psychological-that can be packed into one boy's summer works as he tells it. "Footnote" asides provide light but insightful riffs on contemporary American autocentricity. Nick is a refreshing character and the happy ending is well deserved by both him and readers.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Nick doesn't really try to find trouble; it just seems that he does things and trouble follows him, like when he sneaks into an abandoned house where his aunt used to live and he accidentally sets part of the place on fire. It wasn't really his fault, but it's difficult to get others to see it that way. In the end of his junior year in high school, Nick managed to find his way into enough trouble that a judge intervened and told his parents they would have to do something. Their decision to enroll Nick in military school for his senior year doesn't thrill their son.

Nick's parents have been pretty distant for a long time, anyway, and so he doesn't think they will really mind when they take off for a week's vacation and he takes off walking--the main way he clears his mind and finds peace. He walks for days, across the state to where his favorite aunt, Wanda, is now living in a little hippie community. She always seems to understand him.

Life in Wanda's world is strange. Her neighbors are all free spirits, mostly going by pseudonyms and very fond of wild impromptu parties. Their lifestyle is offensive to the teenaged sons and daughters of the very rich people who live in an exclusive neighborhood next door, though, so the hippie parties are often broken up by trash being thrown by the rich kids. One of those kids is Diana, whom Nick feels an instant connection to.

Diana is strange in her own way, though, seeming to hate her father for reasons she won't talk about, and acting very moody most of the time. As the summer goes on and Nick tries to decide what he is going to do next, he finds that everyone's life is more complex than he thought.

I liked Wanda's community of hippies.
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A Kid's Review on May 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Walk Away Home" is not such a good book. I personally didn't enjoy it much at all. I think maybe one of the reasons I didn't like the book is because it is probably for kids in high school, and I'm in junior high. The book is basically about a boy in high school, Nick, who leaves his home one day and walks to his aunt's house. At his aunt's house, he meets a girl, Diana, who is having some very bad problems with her family. Throughout the book Nick, who tells the story, is trying to help this girl with her problems. Overall, even if you are a kid in high school, I still don't think you would like this book much. It is rather boring because it seems like it takes too long for Nick and Diana to find a solution to Diana's family problems.
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By A Customer on May 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I liked the weird people who lived with Nick's aunt and have names like Rode Kool and OK Sunbeam and the place where all of them live which is called "Happiness Far" (It was a farm and the m fell off the sign.) Also how Nick and his girlfriend find a way to get into houses where nobody lives that are up for sale and hang out there. There was also interesting things that Nick wrote about his habit of walking like at one time everything in the world was in walking distance, since it had to be, since people only walked. This was fun to read but made you think, too.
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