No one heard, no one saw what happened to their son.... And no one knew that 12 year-old-Ricky Stern was being lured on a nightmarish journey by a bearded stranger who promised him excitement--excitement that was tinged with the most shocking, shattering, unspeakable terror....
Deftly written, suspenseful in all the right ways. There is equal sympathy for the young hero and the old man predator. The "self-discovery" of the boy is well crafted.
Ricky Stern is a sweet, bright, happy, Jewish, handsomely blond 12-year-old when he is lured into the woods, abducted and raped by Arvis Moore, an homicidal, bearded, psychotic pervert. As the kidnapper and his victim travel from Virginia to Philadelphia, something changes inside Ricky - he begins to enjoy Arvis Moore's continuous molestation of him and passes up every chance of escape that comes his way. Because Ricky has become too pliant in his molestation, Arvis must kidnap another boy.
Ricky turns from innocent victim to active participant, by acting as the lure in the kidnapping of another little boy. As the police close in on Arvis Moore, Ricky has turned into the person with all the power in this twisted relationship. He has become incredibly devious, manipulating Arvis and others around him in such a way, that it becomes increasingly more difficult to tell who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.
I have to say that while I enjoyed reading this book, I found The Manhood Ceremony by Ross Berliner to be incredibly devastating and disturbing to read because of the reality of the plot. This is a situation that could, and does happen to millions of children throughout America each year. I thought that the story was perhaps extremely dated in terms of the writing, however the plot was incredibly current in my opinion. This was a reread for me from many years ago, and I gave this book an A+!