This just popped up on here in what has become Good Reads' endlessly pestering new platform of "suggesting" things to read. Anyway, I forgot I read thThis just popped up on here in what has become Good Reads' endlessly pestering new platform of "suggesting" things to read. Anyway, I forgot I read this a while back, and it's get 3 out of 5 stars, because I don't remember disliking it. I did finish it, but obviously I forgot I read it, so there you go....more
Lisa Graff did a very brave and honest thing in writing this book. The main character, who struggles immensely in school, doesn't come to terms with aLisa Graff did a very brave and honest thing in writing this book. The main character, who struggles immensely in school, doesn't come to terms with a new-found disorder or disability that explains why he has so much trouble; Albie Schaffhauser gets poor grades because learning simply doesn't come easily to him. At times the reader will be frustrated with his inability to come to grips with what seems obvious, which will provide a lot of good discussion prompts in a classroom. The author will have succeeded if the reader can get past his/her initial frustration with Albie and see that sometimes there are other ways to be good at things that fall outside of the realm of academic achievement.
This story didn't end tidily, but I found it had a rather saccharine tone at times that didn't make the story any better for having reiterated what the reader already came to grips with several chapters back. I also thought at times that the narrative was repetitive. This was a great book about a situation many children will go through or who have gone through themselves, though, and I would recommend it to a lot of people....more
This was fine. I mean, I guess I'm supposed to love it because it won a National Book Award and because Jacqueline Woodson is so amazing. I agree thatThis was fine. I mean, I guess I'm supposed to love it because it won a National Book Award and because Jacqueline Woodson is so amazing. I agree that Jacqueline Woodson is amazing. I've read other books she's written and thought they were great. This just felt like it was a little bit too bloated, in terms of the number of themes Woodson was working with here. Writing in verse never works very well in my opinion either. All of these memories and snapshots needed more than just snatches of poetry to really give them life. I often think writing verse is just faux-experimental and doesn't actually make the writing any more interesting than if it had been written in a more straightforward style. I love experimental writing in any case. A better novel written in verse this year, which I still didn't 100-percent love, was the Crossover. That could have been read aloud with the vitality and rhythm of spoken-word poetry and really resonated. This story didn't work that way and therefore the style didn't seem needed. The story also felt very purposefully overarching, over the top and obvious. I'm not sure who the intended audience was at times. The story seems like it would have greater resonance with adults in some cases....more
Perverse, politically incorrect, dark, unflinching and hysterical, it's easy to see Museum of Mistakes as the collected regrets of Julia Wertz. HowevePerverse, politically incorrect, dark, unflinching and hysterical, it's easy to see Museum of Mistakes as the collected regrets of Julia Wertz. However, it's in fact an inspiring work by a creative talent who nearly lost her way due to self-doubt, illness and addiction.
The Fart Party and its related ephemera seems like just a bunch of hysterical and inappropriate jokes, and it kind of is, but there's so much more here. It's not a story about the author's battle with lupus or her alcoholism, though both issues line the pages of the Fart Party, providing enough hints to the reader that perhaps all the fart jokes are standing in for other more difficult considerations.
I prefer her later work Drinking at the Movies because there's more focus than just the odds and sods collected here, among them her earliest works that are more curiosities than anything really vital to the Fart Party process. However, the entire volume pieces together a particularly difficult time in Wertz's life that even she didn't realize the significance of, as she mentions in the endnotes. Museum of Mistakes closes out the Fart Party era nicely, and I look forward to seeing more from this author....more
Kind of like the work of Shel Silverstein, with nonsensical short vignettes paired with equally silly illustrations. Lots of fun, and I think kids wilKind of like the work of Shel Silverstein, with nonsensical short vignettes paired with equally silly illustrations. Lots of fun, and I think kids will really like it....more
Transparent and rather obvious, even for this age group. Lots of nice allusions to real and fictional stories about the nature of time and irrevocabilTransparent and rather obvious, even for this age group. Lots of nice allusions to real and fictional stories about the nature of time and irrevocability. However, I thought the whole sci-fi plot with the grandfather aging backwards to a 13-year-old was pretty stupid. I realize that was meant to illustrate the author's point that things change, but I hate sci-fi. It's stupid. I don't get it. Why speculate about aging in reverse? It seems pointless to me. I thought this could have been done better as a realistic story, and it perhaps could have been even better for older readers. However, Kevin Henkes and Beverly Cleary do much better job with these topics for younger readers, so I'm not sure making the story more complicated matters....more
An excellent graphic novel about life in Colonial New England. This is a collection of short comics that tell the stories of a variety of New EnglandeAn excellent graphic novel about life in Colonial New England. This is a collection of short comics that tell the stories of a variety of New Englanders and the Native Americans from this region. Some of the stories had some gaps, but over all it was great. It's beautifully designed, and there are even some cool activities placed throughout. This is primarily for teachers to use in a classroom, and I would put this at about the 8th-grade level. Some of the stories are rather complex, and others discuss rather weighty issues that would be too much for a younger audience. I wish I had this kind of book in middle school....more
I had stayed away from this book for some time because it seemed like it would be grim and horrible. It was and it wasn't. The first half of the storyI had stayed away from this book for some time because it seemed like it would be grim and horrible. It was and it wasn't. The first half of the story, in which Roz Chast's parents were still relatively healthy, had a nice balance of humor and weight. As things went on, inevitably the book started to take a turn for the worse, as such books about mortality do. This book had a Naked Lunch feel to it; author William Burroughs described his work as encompassing "everything out on the fork." Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant was a little too "everything out on the fork" for me after a while. Chase poignantly and brilliantly portrayed her relationship to her parents, their struggles and Chast's struggles in taking care of them. However, after a while I started getting a little sick over the exhaustive nature of the process of dying. It wasn't gross or graphic or anything like that. Mortality is just awful, plain and simple.
There were parts of this story that I questioned in terms of the behaviors of everyone involved, but I didn't question them as value judgments. I think it was admirable that Chast was willing to lay out the uncomfortable aspects of this process and also the nature of her family dynamic. I think it provides a lot of room for discussion. This title would be great for a book club. I thought the quality level was high. At times I found the details rather exhaustive, and I have to say that my rating has more to do with my own discomfort with the process of death. This was really a pretty brave book....more