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Robert L

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Member Since: Before 2003

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Dear Mr. Kapps
by Robert L   

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Books by Robert L
· The Witchery Way
· The Virtual Guard
                >> View all

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Young Adult/Teen



Copyright:  Nov 1 1999

A 14-year-old cancer patient writes his idol, a New York television comedian, a series of letters, with surprising results.
Writer Online

A young cancer victim, Rafe, tells of his experiences and reveals his innermost feelings in a series of letters to Mr. Kapps, his favorite comedian. He receives reluctant replies from Mr. Kapps' secretary, but will Mr. Kapps himself ever write back to him? Living under the shadow of death does not stop Rafe in his quest for the love of a girl who doesn't seem to know he exists. Will Rafe win the girl by befriending her current boyfriend? Rafe finds himself in a challenging friendship with a fellow patient as they attempt to build a P-38 model airplane. Will he win the battle with cancer? Will the model P-38 fly? Read Robert Ferrier's Dear Mr. Kapps to find out.    

Professional Reviews

Inscriptions E-zine
"Dear Mr. Kapps" by Robert Ferrier
Reviewed by John Coon (eagle(at) for Inscriptions E-Zine (Aug. 7, 2000)

Rafe Mackey is 14-years-old and has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. His feelings as he goes into his first chemotherapy treatment range from apprehension to wonder to desperation. He can't play football, he's worried about his girlfriend and he's going to be bald.
Rafe meets Brad Boxleitner, an eighth grade basketball player from another school, who also has lymphoma. He's farther along in his treatment than Rafe, and gives him a heads up on what he has to look forward to. The two become fast friends and share a major part of their lives in just a few short months. We see their trouble with school, with girls, with life, and above all their trouble with the cancer that's always looming in the background.
Brad is working on a scale model of a P-38 Lightning. One of his goals is to fly it. A simple enough sounding goal but one that becomes more and more difficult to achieve as time goes on. As Brad and Rafe work on the plane, their lives unfold.
"Dear Mr. Kapps" is a remarkably well-plotted novel. Robert Ferrier causes us to see the struggles, the victories and the defeats of two teens fighting a cancer that keeps trying to cut their lives short. Ferrier himself is a cancer survivor. I wonder how much of this novel is personal
I know Rafe and Brad. Ferrier builds them from the ground up, giving us a real sense of who they are -- their hopes and dreams, their ideas and goals, and mostly their fears. We get to know the minor characters as well. We even get to know Mr. Kapps himself, in spite of the fact that we don't actually meet him until late in the book.
Written in the form of a series of letters to Sol Kapps, star of a television comedy program, this format turns out to be a very effective way to tell the story. I found "Dear Mr. Kapps" to be a gentle and moving tale of crisis, defeat and victory. If you are only going to read a few books this year, this should be one of the few.

The McQuark Review
Fourteen-year-old Rafe Mackey, an aspiring comedy writer, keeps himself more or less sane and functional while undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma. His method is to write letters to a nationally known TV comic named Solomon Kapps. "When I write funny stuff, time goes warpy," says Rafe, "I loop into another world." And another world is a good place to be when you are facing your own fear and pain.

Among the other situations Rafe is dealing with are his own performance anxiety (do his schtick before an audience? no way), the failing health and ultimate death of his chemo buddy BB, and the ludicrous "John Alden" situation he falls into when the most beautiful girl in his class asks him to help her football-hunk boyfriend appreciate books and incidentally pass English.

This is much, much more than a problem novel about lymphoma, It's well-written, inventive, many-layered, and genuinely funny. (She's so messy you don't visit her room, you go there with a guide.") Even though Mr. Kapps himself never answers the letters, Rafe finds his own answers through writing them. The book has a few minor flaws (such as the fact that Lea, an older teenager who has survived lymphoma, sometimes talks like a National Cancer Society pamphlet on positive thinking), but they are minor when set beside the story's genuine virtues. I laughed, I cried, I didn't want the book to end. Reviewed by Georgess McHargue

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Reader Reviews for "Dear Mr. Kapps"

Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 10/19/2004
I just finished reading the preview and must say it is excellent keep up the great work
God Bless

Books by
Robert L

The Witchery Way

Dear Mr. Kapps

The Virtual Guard

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