Courage Mountain: The Further Adventures of Heidi

This ”official movie tie-in” sold well even before the film was in theaters. Must be that goo-goo-eyes photograph of Charlie Sheen (star of the movie) on the cover — it sure isn’t the prose of Courage Mountain.

Writers Brogger and Brogger have fast-forwarded Heidi to the tremulous age of 14 and shooed her off her Alpine peak to a posh boarding school in Italy in the middle of World War I. This means she’s parted from Peter the goatherd at the very moment she finds he makes her ”almost weak in her stomach.” (Not a page later he makes ”her knees go a little weak.”)

Luckily, she gets to ”go weak in the knees” again at the end of the book — oops, I mean tie-in — when she and Peter are reunited after her perilous, scenic, dramatic, spunky escape across the Alps with a band of plucky orphans.

In between, the Broggers give us a cast of sneaky, black-hatted villains and clichéd, sweet-voiced heroines who ”indignantly turn on their heels,” know things ”deep in their hearts,” and thwack bad guys with umbrellas.

These lifeless characters have a ghastly, mechanical air, lurching about like theme-park Animatronics broken loose from their moorings. After pages of plodding description, hilariously inappropriate dialogue, and a series of creakily engineered rescues and escapes, the glazed young reader may feel either weak in the stomach or thoroughly thwacked over the head with a lousy script. F

Courage Mountain: The Further Adventures of Heidi
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