Kevin is a sixth grade student dealing with some
tough issues. His mother has recently packed up and moved with no apparent explanation. His dad, a respected police officer, is angry and distant. He is feeling alienated from his friends, Andy (whose older brother has come out about his sexual orientation),
and Eric who seems insensitive and at times cruel in his observations and comments.
To top it off, he and his friends blunder into some documentation that lists his favorite teacher, Jeffrey Logan, as
It is difficult for Kevin to speak about or forgive
his mother and Mr. Logan becomes the one adult that Kevin feels comfortable talking to.
Mr. Logan is a compassionate listener and withholds judgement. When news
of Mr. Logan’s HIV status leaks out, parents organize and Kevin’s father, Charley Delaney, decides to spearhead
the dismissal of Mr. Logan. Kevin feels divided loyalty for his father and Mr. Logan.
Attempting to show his father some literature about HIV and transmission of the disease, Kevin witnesses something
in his father’s eyes he has never seen before, fear!
As the story progresses, the parent group becomes more vocal, and finally Mr. Logan succumbs to the
pressure and submits his resignation. This letdown is more than Kevin can handle
so he leaves school and goes to confront his teacher. Mr. Logan patiently explains
that although a difficult decision, he felt it best in the interest of his students to leave and stop the disruption of the
school atmosphere. In his perceptive manner, he continues to explain to Kevin
that people aren’t perfect and that Kevin is not to take on the responsibility for the actions of his father and prompts
him to be responsible for his own actions.
ponders all that has happened, he decides to reconnect with his mother and begins a letter to her. Many themes crisscross including HIV awareness, homosexuality, peer pressure, divorce, parent/child relationships, growing
up, disillusionment with heroes, and courage to take a stand.
the plot elements and characterizations are heavy handed. The bullies seem too
stereotypical, always choosing meanness of spirit. Mr. Logan, the HIV positive
teacher, is so understanding and such an excellent teacher and person, that he seems rather two dimensional. We don’t really get to know his story and perhaps that is purposeful on the author’s part because
the story is really about Kevin and how he deals with life’s issues.
of the story covering sex education and information about AIDS, reads like a textbook script.
The author inserts a reading list and hotline information at the end of the novel.
Yet, Kevin and his plight are believable. His desperate feelings of loneliness and his inability to confide in an adult, are
very much part of the teenage perspective. His longing to please a father that
he so admires is believable. His anger with his mother is understandable. His
disillusionment with friends and the adults around him seem very honest. Ultimately,
Kevin rejects the injustices dealt Mr. Logan. “Kevin’s unwillingness to accept stereotype
holds the story together, it should help give readers like him-quiet but steady sorts-the courage to take similar stands”