After his dying grandfather tries to strangle him, Jack Lund discovers a door that leads him fifty years into the past and involves him in events that determine his own future.
"Gr 8^-12. A well-drawn problem plot mixes successfully with time travel in this complex fantasy. The story begins in modern-day Minnesota, where Jack Lund moves with his parents into his dead grandfather's foreboding house, which, Jack discovers, has a door that opens 50 years into the past. After one of his father's alcoholic rampages results in the death of his mother, Jack escapes to the past for good and starts a new life in 1941 as a hired farmhand in the same small town where his grandfather lived. Not surprisingly, Jack's present and his new past begin to collide--he unknowingly meets his grandmother and starts to fall in love with her. What follows is a complicated scenario, described through fragments of journals and medical documents and involving Jack's army enlistment in World War II, his near death in combat and long-term confinement in a mental hospital, and his existence as an old man in a time frame that parallels his life as a teenager. The painfully accurate scenes of spousal abuse and the all-too-familiar account of a failing marriage lend a pervasive negativity to the story despite Jack's father's abrupt recovery episode. Although the writing style is not as fluid as Cormier's, Jack's impossible predicament may remind some of I Am the Cheese, and the urge to fit together all the pieces make this novel hard to put down. --Laura Tillotson"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Ingenious plotting and startling action combine to make this time-travel thriller a riveting read. Trying to escape from his violent father, Jack and his mother move into his late grandfather's mysterious house in Memory, Minn. There, the 13-year-old discovers a door that can hurtle him 50 years into the past. In the present day, Jack's father is rampaging: he calls the boy's mother a "hardheaded bitch," breaks her fingers and eventually kills her with a baseball bat. Jack escapes through the time-travel door, planning to wait 50 years and prevent the crime. Unbeknownst to him, he is becoming entangled in his own family's ugly history: past and future are irremediably entangled. Jack's strange destiny takes him from the bloody battles of WW II Guadalcanal to a government-run mental institution, where he suffers amnesia and a drug-induced type of catatonia. The only real flaw in this feverish page-turner is the pedestrian heaviness of the dialogue. Hautman, the author of three adult novels, can otherwise be commended: his structure is sophisticated without ever overwhelming the reader, and mined with surprises that explode like fireworks. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved