|Plot Summary of At Risk|
|"Polly and Ivan Farrell are a nice, small-town Massachusetts family, with two kids, in 1988: Amanda, eleven, an aspiring gymnast, and Charlie, eight, a bright boy interested in science. Their lives change dramatically when Amanda is suddenly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, the result of a blood transfusion five years earlier. The family's attempts to come to terms with Amanda's condition create a ripple effect throughout others close to the Farrells: Polly's parents, Amanda's gym coach and his daughter (Amanda's best friend), Charlie's best fried, Polly's business partner, a middle-aged woman with possible psychic ability, the school principal, an HIV hotline worker, and the Farrell's family doctor and his wife. The narrative switches so frequently among the characters that the novel is far more concerned with the coping and mutual support of a community than that of any individual. Although the subject matter is unhappy, the tone is not *just* a tearjerking downer; amidst the grief and fear, Hoffman manages to highlight positive relationships and convictions that strengthen the characters (including Amanda) during Amanda's illness."
A. J. Bell, Resident Scholar
|"This book is the story of an American family, as ordinary as your own. There's Polly, a wife, mother, and struggling photographer; her husband Ivan, who is an astronomer; their son Charlie, an eight-year-old obsessed with dinosaurs.
And then there is Amanda. A wonderful eleven-year-old who dreams of becoming a great gymnast, she is gifted with unusual strength and courage. A sudden tragedy will consume her entire world-her life, her family, and also the community in which they live."
Boppy, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of At Risk|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Tone of book?
Time/era of story
Family, caring for ill
Who is sick?
because he/she is
- physically ill
Is this an adult or child's book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
- a kid
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
- White (American)
How sensitive is this character?
- sensitive to others' feelings
- middling sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Average intelligence
- average physique
- physically sick
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 2 ()
- mostly 1st
- mostly 3rd
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
- No single main character?
Amount of dialog
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog