18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HAUNTING, COMPLEX, INSIGHTFUL,
This review is from: The Most Dangerous Thing (Paperback)
Early in Laura Lippman's haunting, complex tale we read, "for a long time, ...forever, Gordon's mind has been split by a thick, dark line, a line that divides and defines his life as well." Gordon (aka Go-Go) is doubtless the youngest and wildest of the three Halloran boys. In all likelihood he would be the wildest in any group or family, a child driven by unknown forces that cause him to act out in alarming ways.
An odd alliance is formed in a Baltimore suburb, Dickeyville, during the spring of 1977 between the Hallorans, Sean, Tim and Go-Go, Mickey, an older than her years tomboy whose waitress mother pays little attention to her and a lot of attention to men. The fifth member of the group is sweet, slightly pudgy Gwen who frets about her appearance, wishing to be slim and not at all like her mother, Tally.
The five spend their days exploring Leakin Park, a dense outcrop of woods, paths, and streams. It is there that they find a ramshackle cabin occupied by one Chicken George, a mysterious man whose one prized possession is a guitar. The children are quite taken with their discovery, keeping it a secret and bringing things to Chicken George. Then the unforeseen occurs, the children are panicked, frightened and go to their parents for help. The group is shattered and each goes his and her own way.
Time passes and as adults each is settled or unsettled as the case may be in leading their own lives. Mickey has become an airline stewardess, Gwen is on the verge of divorce, Tim is married and tends to his mother, while Sean has moved to Florida with his overbearing wife. The group is reunited when Go-Go is killed in an automobile accident. As Lippman segues between past and present we learn of that disastrous night in 1979 from each of the now grown children as well as their parents.
The Most Dangerous Thing is a fascinating, insightful tale reminding us that the past is always part of the present, and that the carelessness of youth may well affect adult lives.
- Gail Cooke