Fran Arrick Laura Geringer - Essay

Laura Geringer

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In Tunnel Vision,] Anthony, a 15-year-old "A" student, star of his high school swim team, respected by his teachers, idolized by his friends, favored by his parents, and nicknamed Mr. Perfect by his more rebellious sister, hangs himself with his father's neckties, leaving no note. Shocked and guilty, his nearest and dearest condemn themselves for not sensing that the boy's terminal depression of several months duration was more than teenage angst. But readers will be at as much of a loss as to why this particular kid wanted to end it all…. A nice, neighborhood cop, commenting upon the statistical frequency of juvenile suicide attempts in the American small town he inhabits, attributes the phenomenon to Tunnel Vision: "It's like each of them was caught inside a tunnel and they couldn't see any end to it or anything at all outside." Not much of an explanation but it's refreshing to find a realistic problem novel that doesn't read like psychological case study. The small, linked group of people who must come to terms with the tragedy described here are likable and ordinary. They are not particularly marked for disaster. It visits them almost casually. Arrick's spare, understated handling of their struggle to come to terms with the decision of a child they all loved to leave them and life behind rings true, and should prompt some heated discussions. (pp. 119-20)

Laura Geringer, in a review of "Tunnel Vision," in School Library Journal, Vol. 26, No. 8, April, 1980, pp. 119-20.