To Race the Wind Critical Essays

Harold Krents


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Because Krents wrote To Race the Wind when he was only twenty-five years old, he captures the way that life seems to children and, simultaneously, the more mature view of a young man who has come to understand the depth of his family’s support. He looks closely at the loneliness of his youth and writes of even the most dismal experiences with candor and humor. For example, when Ginny Korman, one of his childhood playmates, told him that she had argued for his acceptance into her gang, she related to him what she told her friends: “Look, I know that Harold talks too much. I know he tries too hard to be friendly, and that he’ll make the summer miserable for us if we let him. ” Nevertheless, Ginny gained admission for Krents into her gang because her mother had pressured her. Even knowing Ginny’s motives, however, Krents was pleased to be included. The author, in several scenes of this type, re-creates the candid dealings of young people with one another.

Initially, Krents portrays his family as a sort of cultural ideal, a family that can scarcely live up to its own reputation for perfection. Several of Krents’s dominant stated themes come from his parents. For example, he credits his parents, especially his mother, with inspiring his love of independence. Mrs. Krents said of her son to her two sisters, “I not only want him to be independent, but I want him to love being that way.” Krents states, at one point, that he would rather fall down a manhole than to be dependent, to walk around with his arms extended ahead of him for protec-tion. (The next day, he fell down a manhole.) He also praises his mother for having the tenacity to drive him to learn, and he praises his father for having patience and good humor. Krents liked even his father’s snoring. It was Krents’s parents who repeatedly told him, “Bitterness never accomplishes anything; don’t surrender to it, Harold.” Not until almost halfway through the...

(The entire section is 801 words.)