Journey to an 800 Number

by E. L. Konigsburg
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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 170

Children are exposed to peer pressure at an early age, forced to reconcile their search for self-identity with the need to be "normal" and fit in with the group. Journey to an 800 Number tells the story of one boy's search for a sense of self, a pivotal journey which he, like many young adults, embarks on unawares. All Max knows at the start of the novel is that he must spend the month of August in Texas with his father, Woody, a camel-keeper, and his father's camel, Ahmed, while his newly remarried mother honeymoons on a cruise ship. A well-adjusted, intelligent, but cynical twelve-year-old. Max has lived with his status-conscious mother since his parents divorced eight years earlier. Max enlivens his first-person narration with deft observations and dry humor. Although Journey to an 800 Number deals with serious subject matter—the only child of divorced parents reevaluating his goals and learning to accept his nonconformist father—Konigsburg draws the reader into Max's story with her humor, imaginative plot, and quirky details.

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