by Avi. (HarperTrophy, 1984. ISBN 0064405869. Order Info.) Novel. 152 pages. Grades 5-9.
John Proud is attempting to do some family history research for a class project and becomes involved with an evil ancestor who not only shares his name but looks just like him. He is led to the grave of the first John Proud by his elderly Uncle Dave and Ann, the daughter of his third cousin. The first John Proud, he learns, was hanged in 1854 after admitting that he was a demon. Soon the modern John meets his ancestor who menaces him with the words, "The more I am, the less you are". Soon John finds that he must be careful what he wishes for because such wishes become reality. Recognizing the first John Proud as the embodiment of evil, John must confront and ultimately embrace the evil within himself in order to defeat the demon. This is a serious work for all its accessibility and should lead to some interesting discussion about the reality of evil.
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