The Dewpoint Show
by Barb Howard
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2010
$12.95, 227 pp, interview with the author included, ages 12+
Leonard’s mother has decided that her family should live in the country where there is more fresh air and a lot more privacy. Next to their house is what Leonard’s father calls “a cabin,” where Vivian, an old woman, lives with her three-legged dog, Tripod. She is in the process of installing a hot tub in her backyard, which Leonard watches from his second floor bedroom window. At the age of thirteen, Leonard is quite fascinated by watching people. He often treats his observations as if he were filming everything. At various points throughout the book Leonard will “zoom in” on an object or situation, do a commentary, and then “zoom out.” At other times there will be a “pause” and the story is told from another character’s point of view. After the word “resume,” Leonard continues with the story. Leonard’s mother wishes he would become more engaged in life. As Leonard’s friendship develops with Vivian and Tripod, he comes to really care for and appreciate this elderly lady, particularly after a tragic and sad event that involves Vivian, Tripod, Leonard and his mother. Vivian shows Leonard that life is to be lived, not just observed from a second story window.
The cast of characters in The Dewpoint Show includes Devon, a boy Leonard meets at his community soccer practices. Devon is the type of boy most parents would hope their son never gets to know well. He goes to the school in Dewpoint where Leonard will go the following year. For now, Leonard’s mother drives Leonard to the city every school day so he can spend the last two months at his old school. Brianne is the girl of interest in Leonard’s life. She attends his school and seems to enjoy flouting the rules and testing the teachers’ patience.
All the chapter headings are written on a Clapboard, which is the board that is clapped in front of the camera just before the director says, “Action.” The last chapter of the book is called, “Sequel.” It is five years later and Vivian is still one of Leonard’s best friends. This final chapter gives a nice closure to the novel and a happy ending for everyone on “The Dewpoint Show.”
Review by Julia Rank.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Jan/Feb 2011 issue.