Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What Erika Wants, by Bruce Clements

When Erika's mom brings her to a custody hearing to get the judge's sympathy, the judge surprises them both by assigning Erika a lawyer. At first, she doesn't think she needs one (she's certain that she wants to live with her mother), but soon Erika discovers how useful a lawyer can be and how little she truly understands about what she wants. With the help of her attorney, she starts to sort this out.

Written with the obvious purpose of praising the work of a child's advocate in family court (by an author who works with them), this book can get a bit pedantic at times. It's a valiant aim, but perhaps the author would have scored more honesty points by simply writing the non-fiction he wanted to. The lawyer character is far too good to be true -- tirelessly sacrificing personal life without a concern or complaint. The other characters, while nuanced, are similiarly two-dimensional. Everything just goes a bit too cleanly. If this is supposed to be fiction, it needs more realism.

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