Patty's Reviews > Stanford Wong Flunks Big-time

Stanford Wong Flunks Big-time by Lisa Yee
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's review
Aug 24, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: youth, school, family, basketball, knitting
Read in August, 2008

Very readable. The chapters aren't really chapters, but a sort of a time line. You aren't committed to reading a lot at any one time. It works to your advantage at the beginning when you aren't invested in any of the characters and don't really care way happens. Later, you are so invested that the size of the chapters don't really matter.

Many themes make their way into this book. You have the whole school thing going on. Stanford isn't so much into school, but is a basketball fiend. He risks losing his place on the "A" team if he doesn't get a passing grade in summer school english. So, you have a whole learning to do your best, and you may surprised that you enjoy it subtext.

Connected, Stanford's relationship with his father isn't the best. He doesn't feel he measures up to what his father expects of him. He is tutored by the town genius who is able to carry on a conversation with his father better than he can. His older sister has a better relationship with his father because she gets good grades. No matter how hard he tries, it seems his father isn't happy with it. The author reveals where Stanford's name comes from, and it further reinforces this theme.

His father is losing touch with his family. His parents fight. Stanford's dad is going for a big promotion and risks losing touch with his family because he is spending time away from home and not listening. Stanford's grandmother Yin-yin also plays a role because he thinks she wants to run away from a retirement home. Is it really what is best for her?

Stanford also learns what makes a friend. Is it someone who is willing to buy you anything, but blackmails you? Is it someone who bullies other people including the town genius Millicent Min? Is it someone who is there for you when you need it the most? Is it a teacher who wants you to do your best. He also experiences first love. Honesty and loyalty plays a big role in even that relationship.

I love that whenever Stanford is frustrated he knits! Plus, he watches Sesame Street with his friend Stretch. He doesn't want anyone to know these things, but it shows how complex everyone is. Plus, guess what a Hee-Haw game is?

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