You Shouldn’t Throw a Snake at Your Mother
- Coming of Age Tale
It’s the summer of 1952 in
Connecticut, and Sonny Boy and his friends
Charlie and Pudgy are ten years old. Sonny Boy is petrified of snakes, but somehow
he’s decided it would be the perfect gag to find one and throw it at his mother.
Once he declares his intentions to
his friends and the girl he admires, he suddenly gets cold feet, and spends the rest of the summer attempting to distract
them from the plan. These distractions include playing football, visiting with
Otto, the local octogenarian, and defending themselves against the neighborhood bullies.
Trouble seems to find them at every turn.
Although this is a well written and
amusing coming of age tale, with fun characters and nice action, I found the amounts of animal cruelty in this story to be
very off-putting. The characters found humor in “popping” tadpoles
over a fire, squashing bullfrogs on the road or blowing them up with M-80s, and seeing a poodle hit by a train. While animal cruelty may have been accepted in 1952, it’s not something I particularly enjoyed reading
about now, and its absence would have made the story much more fun and light-hearted.
Reviewer: Alice Berger