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Dustin Grubbs: One Man Show    by John J. Bonk order for
Dustin Grubbs
by John J. Bonk
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Buttermilk Falls middle schooler Dustin Grubbs has to keep his passion for acting secret from his mom, in this witty and wacky tale, centered on the staging of a school play. Why the big secret? Dustin's dad deserted his wife and two sons for the vagabond life of a stand-up comic.

Justin adores his drama teacher, Miss Honeywell, who supports his passion for acting. He's ready to play his lead role as the Jester (who loves the Princess) in 'The Castle of the Crooked Crowns'. But the fates conspire against the production. First, it's interrupted by a fire drill and then Justin ends up in a humiliating position - unfortunately witnessed by a real actor, new student Jason Wilder, who happens to star in Dustin's favorite sitcom. The show does go on that time ... straight into an expensive fiasco of crashing props. To recuperate the cost of piano repair, Justin's neighbor LMNOP (Ellen Mennopi) proposes staging the play again, exploiting the involvement of Jason Wilder. Along the way, a starstruck Justin hurts his best friend Wally, lashes out at LMNOP, and tries to get in touch with his long-departed dad.

Eventually, the play does go on, everyone shows their true colors, Justin has 'the best night of my life and the worst', and he makes amends. Dustin Grubbs: One Man Show is a slapstick funny story, with a few serious moments along the way.

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