At Risk Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of At Risk

This book is the story of an American family, as ordinary as your own. There's Polly, a wife, mother, and struggling photographer; her husband Ivan, who is an astronomer; their son Charlie, an eight-year-old obsessed with dinosaurs.
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And then there is Amanda. A wonderful eleven-year-old who dreams of becoming a great gymnast, she is gifted with unusual strength and courage. A sudden tragedy will consume her entire world-her life, her family, and also the community in which they live.
The review of this Book prepared by Boppy

Polly and Ivan Farrell are a nice, small-town Massachusetts family, with two kids, in 1988: Amanda, eleven, an aspiring gymnast, and Charlie, eight, a bright boy interested in science. Their lives change dramatically when Amanda is suddenly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, the result of a blood transfusion five years earlier. The family's attempts to come to terms with Amanda's condition create a ripple effect throughout others close to the Farrells: Polly's parents, Amanda's gym coach and his daughter (Amanda's best friend), Charlie's best fried, Polly's business partner, a middle-aged woman with possible psychic ability, the school principal, an HIV hotline worker, and the Farrell's family doctor and his wife. The narrative switches so frequently among the characters that the novel is far more concerned with the coping and mutual support of a community than that of any individual. Although the subject matter is unhappy, the tone is not *just* a tearjerking downer; amidst the grief and fear, Hoffman manages to highlight positive relationships and convictions that strengthen the characters (including Amanda) during Amanda's illness.
The review of this Book prepared by A. J. Bell

Chapter Analysis of At Risk

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Family, caring for ill    -   Yes Who is sick?    -   Daughter because he/she is    -   physically ill Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a kid    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Alice Hoffman Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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