Peck dedicates Clunie to Professor Wilber Dorsett of Rollins College who inspired the story—then adds:
But I dedicate this book to kids
who can never read it, hoping that
the kids who can will care—
Which is precisely why this reviewer recommends Clunie. She hopes it might raise some consciousness about the sensitivities and needs of retarded teenagers….
The reviewer feels that Peck, however, may be resting on his laurels. Characterization is really shallow. Braddy (and his overworked, underpaid, widowed mother) are almost too good to be true. Clunie's oppressions are almost too bad to be true. Braddy's girlfriend acts like a 1940's screen queen—not a high school popularity queen. The book is much too short for any real character development; thus, the conclusion loses much impact. This simply does not measure [up to] his previous works. Recommended, however,… for the reasons stated in the introduction to the review.
Emily C. Farnsworth, "'Clunie'," in Young Adult Cooperative Book Review Group of Massachusetts, Vol. 16, No. 1, October, 1979, p. 17.