Ammaniti, Niccolo. I'm not scared.

Author:DeMarco, Joseph
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review
 
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AMMANITI, Niccolo. I'm not scared. Tr. by Jonathan Hunt, Random House, Anchor Books. 200p, c2003, 1-4000-7563-7 $10.00. A

Italian author Ammaniti paints a picture of Southern Italy that is sweltering, claustrophobic, and rife with desperation and despair. Speaking from the vantage point of adulthood, the narrator, now in his thirties, remembers the summer when he was nine years old. He captures the cruelty, the fears, and the confusion of childhood. Michele, the narrator, is bound to a group of friends from his village. The alliances they make shift, turn, and reform. While exploring the neighboring hills on their bikes, Michele and his friends come upon an abandoned house. Michele, in a moment of gallantry, takes the punishment intended for a girl in the group. In performing the dangerous "forfeit," Michele discovers what appears to be a dead boy concealed in a hole. However, the boy is alive--very weak, disoriented, and seemingly out of his head. Michele takes pity on him and begins a series of regular visits during which he provides food and water and the boy tells Michele about himself. Michele soon discovers that the boy is a kidnap victim and...

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