Deet’s dad is in jail. He’s been taking drugs to stay awake so that he can hold down a second job, and somehow he got caught. It’s a first offense, but nevertheless Dad gets sent to jail for a six month stretch. A first, Deet is humiliated, angry, and confused, but slowly he begins to see that having a parent in jail is not the end of the world.
Good story. Good characters. Deet is the super-organized, hyper-responsible, oldest child, and both of his parents are a little too loosey-goosey and disorganized for the family’s own good. Some of that irresponsibility is what gets Deet’s family into this mess. Deet has a great teacher at school in whom he can confide via a assigned “quotations journal.” (Deet writes his reflections on various quotations from his quotation book.) Deet also meets other people who visit their loved ones in jail, and he becomes friends with some of them. These are the good parts of the story.
However, all the way through the book, I felt as if I were trapped in a sociology lecture about prison reform. The author inserts comments on how many people the United States jails and how high the illiteracy rate is among prison inmates. I liked the story parts, but when the author “went to preachin'” I had the impulse to skim. And sometimes I did.