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The King of Slippery Falls book cover

The King of Slippery Falls, by Sid Hite;
Scholastic Press: New York, zoo4; $16.95

Imagine it’s your birthday. Your parents gave you a surprising gift that revealed your origin. How would you react?

Lewis Hinton, an ordinary boy in The King of Slippery Falls, is shocked on his fifteenth birthday, when he discovers that he's adopted. For one year, he tries to learn about his real family.

On his sixteenth birthday, his adopted mother, Martha, surprises Lewis with a letter from his real mother, J. A. Poisson. The letter reveals Lewis's real name: Louis Poisson, and his real mother gave him away to Avery, his adopted father, to find her husband and freedom. Lewis is angry with his real mother because she basically abandoned him for her own freedom! Lewis also feels angry with Martha for hiding this for s-i-x-t-e-e-n years! Now that's quite a long time to keep a secret. If I were Lewis, I probably would have thrown a fit and started screaming in anger, and inside, I would have felt pretty sad, too.

Lewis's friend, Sophie, and an eighty-eight-year-old woman named Maple tell him that he's of French origin by his last name, Poisson, like my last name, Chakraborti, reveals that I'm of Indian origin.

Maple is what's called "one of a kind." She told Lewis that he's possibly descended from King Louis XV She explains life's gradual, out-of-the-blue, and inspirational changes to Lewis. A person's life is like a story because both experience these three changes. I found this explanation most interesting. When I saw the misery of the evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on TV, I thought it like a major turning point in their lives. The devastation symbolized out-of-the-blue changes for these evacuees.

Anyhow, Lewis's origin gets importance in his one-horse town, Slippery Falls, and the town gets vibrant. Lewis becomes the center of attention in the town. Embarrassed, he tries to stop it. I recall a rumor in my school that I liked a girl, named Laura. I felt that everyone in the school enjoyed their time by conversations involving our relationship. Thank goodness it ended.

There's another important event in this story Lewis spots a trout in the town's waterfall and he's determined to catch that fish. One day Lewis goes to the waterfall on his quest. He almost has the fish, but then slips and hits his head against a rock and gets unconscious, and bleeds heavily He's taken to the hospital. Fortunately, Maple's blood saves his life. But he fails to achieve his goal. I felt pretty sad about that. Sometimes I try very hard to achieve goals. No matter how much perseverance I have, when I can't achieve them, I feel down.

While he recovers, Lewis decides to go to France to learn about the ways of the French, his people. He and his girlfriend, Amanda, organize a car wash to raise money for the trip. My parents are from India, and last summer, I went there to visit my relatives. Before I went, I learned a little of my native tongue, Bengali, from my parents, like Lewis learned some French before he went to France, from Sophie. Learning Bengali helped me enjoy the Bengali culture while I was there, and now I really like it. Lewis will probably enjoy the French culture. Bon voyage, Louis!

The King of Slippery Falls Neil Chakraborti
Neil Chakraborti, 12
Tuscaloosa, Alabama