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Peter embarks on the great world of the seventh grade, in which he encounters a science teacher, Miss Rheingold, the most beautiful woman in the world. She divides the class into groups and assigns a paper with no deadline. Where, in fact, does childhood end and adulthood begin, or what are the precise boundaries of love, or when do we begin to die?

Herb N Lorna

Kraft's writing is subtle, on a par with the early Vonnegut for its playfulness with graphs and ultimate scientific questions, as innocent as Booth Tarkington's Penrod in its boyish maneuverings. The seventh grade is also where Peter learns about black children, how the world does not stop with the boundaries of his prosperous Long Island suburb, how it doesn't stop, either, with the poverty now a part of his expanded consciousness.

Kraft's humor is always grounded in common, rather sad truths; only occasionally does he overextend his jokes, as with Peter's worry that he has somehow violated essential rules when he doesn't follow instructions on first opening a new textbook. In the end, Kraft's entire novel is Miss Rheingold's paper, turned in many years late, but in profound tribute to her wisdom.

The best entry so far in an engaging series. There was a problem adding your email address.

Once you start the series, you won't want to read anything else until you finish them all. Even when you find yourself laughing aloud, it would be a mistake to take Eric Kraft lightly. This is crafty work indeed and certain to endure when more pretentious and more touted writers are forgotten.


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Sentimental, loving, raucous, wise, and great fun, this is simply not to be missed. Like Lawrence Sterne, Kraft is unashamedly sentimental, digressive, and extremely funny; like Proust, profoundly nostalgic and obsessed with loss. The typical Kraft novel is a laugh-out-loud read with undertones of grief and ruefulness.

Almost all of his books revolve around a single individual, Peter Leroy, who is now. John Strausbaugh, New York Press.

Peter Leroy | Awards | LibraryThing

His preoccupation with the homely lives of the citizens of Babbington is adroitly offset by his passion for the story of telling the story. Beneath the dazzling comic antics, Kraft has a serious purpose: In the bargain, they are the literary equivalent of Fred Astaire dancing: By the time you get to the third tune you're on Redbone time.

In the same way Kraft, as the book proceeds, takes control of time in a subtle way.

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I mean that in two ways I think.