H: A Novel

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Viking, 1995 - Fiction - 160 pages
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H is for Elliot. Elliot is twelve-year-old Benjamin Sherman's best friend. To the counselors at the camp where he is spending his first summer, Benjamin is a "freaky kid" who shuns his peers and is strangely - and perhaps dangerously - attached to Elliot, his stuffed letter H. To his mother, Benjamin is an object of anxiety and pity. To his father, he's bizarre and embarrassing. To his psychiatrist, he is a case study in mental illness.
Benjamin has a ritual and reason for everything, from the way he makes pizza bagels to his first kiss to his communion with the toy that the grownups all around him are so intent on taking away. And if those rituals are in any way disturbed, the outcome may not be Benjamin's "recovery" - it may be his destruction.
Through the letters of Benjamin's mother and father, his sister, Lemon, his camp counselors and psychiatrist - and most touchingly through those Benjamin himself writes to his stuffed confidant, Elliot - this audacious and utterly unsentimental novel gives us a moving and sometimes shocking intimacy with a child whose disorder may be a kind of fragile genius.
H is compelling, disturbing, and truthful in a single breath - a riveting look at what is irrevocably lost as Benjamin becomes "more normal."

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

This slim fictional collection of letters from, to, and about a disturbed 12-year-old boy reads more like a writing-class assignment than a debut novel. At the start, Benjamin is heading to summer ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

Elizabeth Shepard, a professional archivist in New York, was the Montclair Public Library Local History archivist from 1995 to 2001. In 2003, she coauthored Images of America: Montclair with her father, Royal Shepard, the former Montclair historian. Mike Farrelly has been Montclair's official historian since 2004.

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