Singing Boy Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Singing Boy

Dennis McFarland
Holt, Mar 2001, 25.00, 309 pp.
ISBN: 080506608X

    In the Boston area, Malcolm and Sarah Vaughn accompanied by their second grade son Harry were driving home from dinner when the Corvair in front of them sat at the green light, not once but twice. Malcolm went to see if the driver was okay, but was shot and killed for his Good Samaritan efforts. Harry and Sarah watch their beloved father and husband die in front of their shocked eyes.
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    The aftermath of the random act of violence stuns Sarah and Harry. At the hospital Sarah calls Malcolm's best friend Deckard Jones, who cannot cope any better than the two survivors. Sarah finds herself increasingly alone, as she cannot hide her grief in her work as a chemical engineering professor. Harry suffers nightmares that haunt him during the day hiding it with apathy and withdrawal while crying and wetting his bed at night. Deck returns to Nam where he seen death and suicide as the norm. The near future for this trio is at best bleak, helpless, and unrelenting, as they must cope with tragedy by themselves.

    As he did with THE MUSIC ROOM, Dennis McFarland provides his audience with an angst-filled tale of what emotionally and psychologically happens to the survivors. The tragedy occurs in the first chapter with the main story line centering on how each individual copes (or in many cases, not deal with) the sudden death of a loved one. Although a bit too melodramatic at times as secondary players also suffer and react in various ways to Malcolm's murder, Mr. McFarland has written a superb psychological thriller that emphasizes the feelings not the action.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Singing Boy

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Plot & Themes

How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very obvious Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 Disaster, natural or nuclear    -   Yes Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   homemaker Age:    -   20's-30's Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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