Wendy's Reviews > The Second Life of Abigail Walker

The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark Dowell
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Sep 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-award-possibilities
Read in September, 2012

I can't quite put my finger on why I liked this book so well. I shouldn't have, really; I'm wary of books about mean girls, which are often uncomfortable to read until they sometimes offer an easy answer; of books about overweight girls, which usually seem to struggle with being both body-image-positive and you'll-be-happier-if-you-lose-weight. This book ought to be "doing too much", because it is about bullying, body image, parent/child relations, post-traumatic stress disorder related to friend's dad home from Iraq, AND there is a goodly portion of fantasy/legend, with a magical fox that takes the narration sometimes. Yet this book, which is quite short, WORKS. I guess sometimes when you mix together a whole bunch of ingredients you get a mess like Everything Pudding, but sometimes you get panettone or tiramisu. #whimsical

This book has some elements in common with Wonder and some of the other recent school stories, but struck me as taking place in the real world. (Which is ironic, since this is the book with a fantasy element.)

I don't think this quite rises to the top in the very strong field this year, but it is certainly worth looking at and discussing, and recommending to kids and teachers independent of Newbery discussion.
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Katie Spot on, Wendy. It was quietly beautiful. And I am up for Everything Tiramisu with you any day.


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