Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman

Finished October 30
The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer
Duncan and his mom have been on their own together forever. When she loses her job in Michigan, the two head home to Drilling Falls, Pennsylvania and move in with his great aunt, Aunt Djuna, and his mom gets a job at Thriftee Mike's Warehouse. Duncan's mom has told him that his father, Joe Wright, died of a rare disease called panosis before he was born, but she doesn't like to talk about him.
Duncan is lonely, having lunch with the other new kid at school, Andrew Tanizaki, a loneliness only enhanced by his ill-begotten nickname Lunch Meat. So when he discovers he has special powers, he is surprised by his mother's insistence to keep them secret, but agrees.
In a rare move to make friends, he reveals his power to Andrew and immediately draws the attention of a boy at the next table. Carl gloms onto Duncan and insists that he be his partner for Scrabble, going to the upcoming Youth Scrabble Tournament in Florida. Carl is sure that he can use Duncan to win the tournament.
Across the country in Portland, Oregon, young April is also planning to attend the tournament. She is a non-athlete in an athletic family and feels that if she makes the sports network televised Scrabble finals, she will final get recognition by her family. In New York City, Nate is being groomed by his dad to win the tournament as well. Nate's dad is consumed with this goal, having lost the tournament himself when he was young.
The story of the three pairs of Scrabble players, the other players they meet at the tournament and the changes the tournament makes in all their lives is a good one, and will lead to lasting friendships. And Duncan's secret power is pretty cool too.


  1. It was. I bought a copy for my nephew and got it signed by the author too!