Lanky Longlegs

Lanky Longlegs

Lanky LonglegsLanky Longlegs

Lorenzen, K.

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Kirkus

Dad and Mum were Goggle Eyes and Lanky Longlegs to one another as children, Di learns–but she still doesn’t like being called Lanky Longlegs by Martin, the new boy, so she balks at selling him one of Fendy’s pups (even though she knows he lost a beloved dog, “”a Rottweiler, just like yours””). Thus, sideways, Lorentzen edges into a classic child-parallelism between death and birth, loss and solace: the delicately foreshadowed death of nine-year-old Di’s little brother Mike, who has blood disease, and her acquisition (after Martin gets his) of the first and strongest of Fendy’s pups. Episode by episode, Martin and Di misconnect (“”He made her say such silly things””); says her friend Helen, “”I think you’ve got Martin on the brain.”” A recent death sets Di and Helen to discussing the advantages of being “”in heaven”” or “”in the churchyard.”” Come autumn, the leaves fall; the puppies grow bigger; Mike, taken ill, goes briefly to the hospital. And so, with the lightest of metaphorical touches (and frank Martin-Di exchanges), we ease into Mike’s death and Di’s grieving, assuaged by thoughts of heaven and churchyard, outreachings by Helen and Martin. Grave and humorous, simple and subtle: still another small Scandinavian triumph.