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Not Exactly Normal

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  16 reviews
A sixth-grader at St. Luke's Episcopal School sets out to have a mystical experience and learns valuable lessons about himself and the world along the way.
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (first published 2005)
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Devin Brown, who has written some excellent studies of both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, takes on young spirituality in NOT EXACTLY NORMAL. Todd Farrel is a sixth grader at St. Luke’s Episcopal School somewhere in New England. It is that almost-Christmas season that has been the setting for so many books for this age group, both excellent and schmaltzy. Brown’s young character becomes intrigued by the idea of the “mystical experience,” spurred on by the combination of a good teacher who presen ...more
Jenni Frencham
Most of this book reads like a Gentle Fiction, where not much happens to the characters and everyone one is happy, healthy, and above average. The fact that there's no conflict in the family and no problems in the classroom makes me wonder where this perfect world is. However, there are enough entertaining and funny comments throughout the book to keep me, and your average elementary student, reading, and the crisis, when it does happen, is quite a page-turner. It's not exactly your normal book, ...more
Todd has a great 6th gr teacher who is constantly challenging the students with "morning reflection." When the students are asked to create a report just before Christmas break, Todd decides his topic should be "mystical experiences." He has trouble writing his report until he himself has a "m.e." great
Todd Farrell considers himself a normal, average sixth-grader and wants to change. So, he decides to do his school report on mystical experiences and to pay more attention to Leda Johnson who is the least normal of the sixth-graders at St. Luke's.
I don't know if the target age group (9 and up) would like Not Exactly Normal, but I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem in which nothing much happens. The narrator, Todd, talks about his sixth grade class, the other students and the teacher, having dinner with his family, and his homework assignments. Todd has a genuine and believable voice.

The story takes place in the days leading up to Christmas. Todd muses about life, being a hero, what it means to be "part of the main," religion, girls, and
Leslie Godwin
This book is endearing, and well-written. It a good, solid, heart-warming read. That being said, it was nothing immensely special. I work part-time as a receptionist, and I got through the entire book during one of my shifts. It is what I would call a cookie read. I did really enjoy it's theme and commentary on the "extraordinary ordinary"...a great message.
Todd sees himself as an average sixth grader with average talents. Things change for him when he chooses an unusual topic for his last paper before the Christmas holidays. Todd decides to write about mystical experiences and proceeds to go in search for one for himself.

Devin Brown has created some wonderful characters including sixth grade teacher, Mr. Phillips, and his amazing wife, Pastor Jill. This is a heart warming story that makes the reader feel connected to the setting and characters. Th
Kayla Rae
I love this book!! It's about a normal teenage boy who turns out to save his best friends life.
Absolutly the worst book I have ever read I got the book sighned by the author only because he came to our middle school and I had never had a book sighned by the author and I had no interest in reading yet (that came in the 7th grade) but I wish my teacher would have let us read something with more of a moral to the story sure he saved his freind but that is realy all that happened the entire story
a very cohesive book, well written, enjoyable, and nothing extra included that did not add to the plot (an increasingly rare and commendable quality). A book I think anyone could enjoy.
It's also a really easy read, which makes for a great relaxing reading 'vacation' :)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
So I'm baised because one of my favorite professors wrote this. Been a few years since I've read it so I can't give much of a review because after 3 years mostly remember "I liked this." Might try to re-read to add more cohesive thoughts.
I tried to read this book. Don't! it may sound good, but i had to abandon it on page 10!!! it is boring and has no point at all. at parts it is almost funny, but it ruins it. just dont read this.
It was pretty good. A little slow moving, and a little predictable, but very cute. :)
Nice, gentle Jbook. Great words and encourages thinking outside the box.
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Devin Brown (PhD, University of South Carolina) is a Lilly scholar and professor of English at Asbury University. A C. S. Lewis aficionado, Brown has written, taught, and lectured on Lewis extensively for more than ten years. He has written a number of books related to Lewis, including Inside Narnia and Inside Prince Caspian, and lives in Kentucky. In 2008 Brown was invited to serve as scholar-in- ...more
More about Devin Brown...
A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis The Christian World of the Hobbit Hobbit Lessons: A Map for Life's Unexpected Journeys Inside Narnia: A Guide to Exploring the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Free Hobbit Lessons Sampler

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