Cover image for Killing the kudu
Killing the kudu
Meyer, Carolyn.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [1990]

Physical Description:
202 pages ; 22 cm
Suffocating under his mother's overprotectiveness, Alex, an eighteen-year-old paraplegic, finds freedom, his first love, and a reconciliation with the cousin who accidentally shot and crippled him years ago.
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Suffocating under his mother's overprotectiveness, Alex, an eighteen-year-old paraplegic, finds freedom, his first love, and a reconciliation with the cousin who accidentally shot and crippled him years ago.

Author Notes

Carolyn Meyer was born June 8, 1935, in Lewiston, Pennsylvania. She served as editor of her high school newspaper and yearbook, and spent summers writing radio advertisements. She graduated cum laude with a degree in English from Bucknell University in 1957.

Meyer's first published book was Miss Patch's Learn-to-Sew Book, and she has written over fifty books since then. Her recent titles include: Diary of a Waitress: The Not-So-Glamorous life of a Harvey Girl, Anastasia and Her Sisters, Victoria Rebels, The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots and Duchessina: A novel of Catherine de' Medici.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 9-12. With little of the complexity of her earlier Elliot and Win [BKL Ap 15 86], Meyer's latest story is about paraplegic teenager Alex, 18, who breaks from his overprotective mother and finds love and independence. He's helped by his cousin Scott (who seven years before shot Alex in a childhood accident) and by Claire, a beautiful young Irish nurse, who's kind, sensitive, mature, and so on. The point of view shifts among the three young people as the two boys fall in love with Claire and she falls for Alex. The plot is obviously contrived, but Meyer avoids titillation while giving lots of facts, not only basics (for example, how Alex goes to the bathroom), but also how it feels to be treated as a helpless child by your mother and by embarrassed strangers. It's also made clear that Alex can give and receive sexual pleasure. The minor characters are drawn with Meyer's usual zest, dialogue is sharp and contemporary, and the best parts show Alex learning to have fun with Scott and Claire: shopping at the mall, negotiating the wheelchair in the woods and at the beach, and, best of all, clinging tight to Scott's back as they roar through the world on his motorbike. ~--Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Alex is ambivalent about spending the summer at his grandmother's house: while he relishes the prospect of spending time away from his overprotective mother, he is reluctant to return to the site of the shooting accident that years ago left him paralyzed from the waist down. To complicate matters further, Scott, the cousin whom Alex's mother blames for the shooting, visits the house frequently. An unforeseen element is provided by Claire, a beautiful Irish girl whom Alex's grandmother has hired to care for him. When both boys fall in love with Claire, the consequences are as unexpected as they are inevitable and entirely believable. While Alex's struggles are pivotal, this is no mere ``problem novel'' nor a simple summer romance; rather, it is a memorable group portrait, made vivid by each character's unique background. Meyer lets her players speak for themselves, and the results are fresh, incisive and unpredictable. Fans of Elliott and Win will not be disappointed. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-- The kudu of the title is an African antelope whose head is the trophy centerpiece of the Konig's library, but it is the fate of the characters to meet and deal with their own kudus in the course of this tale. Claire, the housekeeper from Northern Ireland, is struggling with a doomed romance; Alex is restricted to a wheelchair from a childhood gun accident; and Scott, while able of body, is pursued by the guilt of having held the gun supposedly aimed at the kudu trophy. As mediator between and love object of both boys, Claire helps Alex restore his confidence as a person and man, and guides Scott to the friendship that ultimately eases the guilt of his unintentioned but tragic act. The events of the summer are told from the viewpoints of the three principal characters, often the same vignette from each's different perspective. These sections ring true since the characters' voices accurately reflect their personalities as seen in other parts of the book. Especially enlightening to readers who might wonder about the practical aspects of paraplegia are Alex's frank observations about how his condition affects his physical functioning, notably with respect to his growing sexuality. The characterization is marred somewhat by a supporting cast of stereotypes--Alex's overprotective mother, Scott's self-righteous minister father, the wise granny--that interrupt the otherwise smooth interaction of the central threesome, but the overall likability of the people and their developing romances/friendships keep readers engaged enough to overlook this. --Joanne Aswell, Long Valley Middle School, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.