Balto -- reviewed by Mimi Carmen

"Let me tell you something Balto. A dog can not make this journey alone," Boris says, "but maybe a wolf can." And those were the stories Angelle remembered from way back when her father read to her, like he read to Lisette now. Way back before the accident. Way back before her mother left, Way back before Marcy, drinking and arguments. And things weren't perfect then either, but they were normal, and she was a normal 12 year old girl, with her mother and father and sister, Lisette, they were normal too, instead of a Mr. Apodaca with his "big baleful dog's eyes," asking her to tell the truth.

Right off the bat, in the opening you're in it, the tragedy is coming. you smell it coming in the tone, as you listen to him, him being the father of Angelle and Lisette, him being the married man, with two beautiful daughters, and also the gorgeous Marcy,with her Chinese eyes, flowing hair, and small talk that sounded smart..

It's difficult to really like the father with his specious apologies to his daughter, when his behavior sets off the egregious mistake. And it's difficult not to burst into tears when Angelle tells everybody that she knows her mother is coming home, when it's obvious her mother has taken a powder. It's difficult not to hate the whole family. It's like a look at today and what's going on.

But then, of course, Mr. Boyle has more up his sleeve, and this story has more than heartbreak in the denouement. And Balto? You can almost hear him bark.