Jon is an accomplished failure and has no friends. He burgles his own home, injures himself and meets Steve.
With Steve’s help, Jon becomes an apprentice adult and begins to learn how to trust people. More
An adult novel for teenagers, a teenage novel for adults. Jon is poor in many senses of the word. He lives alone with his mother. He is fifteen, has no friends and is wary of acquaintanceship. He has a taste for cannabis and a strong aversion to anything suggested by adults as worthwhile. His life is a total failure. He is a sneak thief and trouble-maker as far as his neighbours are concerned, a waste of space at school, an incurable truant, an enemy of the school attendance officer and an utter pain as far as his mother is concerned. Fortunately he decides to burgle his own home, injures himself.
In the hospital he meets Steve, a male nurse. who was a student at the school Jon attends. Steve has a foot in both the adolescent and adult worlds, as a recently-retired adolescent and as an apprentice adult. Sometimes he is aware that he can influence Jon; at other times his influence is unwitting.
The novel follows this relationship as Jon continues to live in his own world but makes contacts in the world that Steve inhabits. Steve tries to show Jon ways of coping with some of the difficulties of adolescent life and it seems that he might succeed. Despite girls, bullies and petty criminals of his own age, despite his mother, teachers, police officers, school attendance officers, neighbours and one of his mother’s boyfriends, Jon survives. Through Steve, he finds Paul and Jimmy who can help him on his way and he begins to find himself.
This is Jon’s one success. It’s not something he tries to do; it just happens.
Adults are not very clever when they deal with young people. Sometimes they are stupid, sometimes they are careless and sometimes they are downright unkind, or worse. The adult world is quite confused about young people: there are situations where more is expected of the owners of animals than of parents. We sometimes expect more of domestic animals than of young human beings!
Growing up has become even more difficult than it need be. Some adults know this but it's not easy to get things right with young people, especially when they are not open to reason and to friendship.
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