Leigh has been Boyd Henshaw's number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid in school. He's lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh's teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh's life. (back cover)
Beverly Cleary (April 12, 1916 - March 25, 2021) was the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.
Beverly Cleary was born Beverly Atlee Bunn in McMinnville, Oregon. When she was 6, her family moved to Portland, Oregon, where she went to grammar and high school. She was slow in learning to read, due partly to her dissatisfaction with the books she was required to read and partly to an unpleasant first grade teacher. It wasn't until she was in third grade that she found enjoyment from books, when she started reading The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins. Thereafter, she was a frequent visitor to the library, though she rarely found the books she most wanted to read — those about children like herself.
She moved to California to attend the University of California, Berkeley, and after graduation with a B.A in English in 1938, studied at the School of Librarianship at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she earned a degree in librarianship in 1939. Her first job was as a librarian in Yakima, Washington, where she met many children who were searching for the same books that she had always hoped to find as a child herself. In response, she wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, which was published in 1950. Beezus and Ramona, Cleary's first novel to feature the Quimby sisters as the central focus of the story, was published in 1955, although Beezus and Ramona made frequent appearances in the Henry Huggins series as supporting characters.
In 1940 she married Clarence T. Cleary and they moved to Oakland, California. The Clearys became parents to a set of twins, Marianne Elisabeth and Malcolm James, in 1955. Clarence Cleary died in 2004. Beverly Cleary lived in Carmel, California until her death in 2021 at the age of one-hundred and four.
She also wrote two autobiographies, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet.
One of my comfort reads as a kid was Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. I read my copy enough times to leave the pages tattered. This week my first grader brought a copy home from her school library, and I could not resist reading along with her. As it is always a struggle to for me to find quality books for kids, I figured it was time for a trip down memory lane, and, as always, Beverly Cleary does not disappoint her readers.
Leigh Botts is a fifth grader whose parents have just gotten divorced. His mother Bonnie comes from a small town outside of Bakersfield, California, a town so small that she says the lights of Bakersfield look as bright as Paris. After graduating from high school, she was smitten with Bill Botts, a long distance trucker, and the two married without many thoughts in the world. Yet, they were not compatible as Bill was more in love with her truck and driving than he was with Bonnie. After attempts to hold together as a family for the sake of their son Leigh, the couple divorced, Bill taking his truck and dog Bandit and Bonnie taking Leigh in hopes of creating a stable life for them.
Bonnie moves Leigh to coastal Pacific Grove and starts working at a catering service and enrolling in a local community college. Leigh becomes a latch key kid and has issues fitting in at his new school, the most crucial one being that mean kids steal items from his lunch. To cope with his lack of both friends and a father figure, Leigh starts writing letters to Boyd Henshaw, an author whose books he has enjoyed. Sensing that all may not be happy in Leigh's life, Henshaw writes back, starting an unlikely friendship that lasts the duration of the book. Henshaw encourages Leigh to keep a diary and offers him tips on how to be a good writer. Leigh takes these to heart and admits that writing has helped him with both school and life. While Henshaw along with school custodian Mr. Fridley can not replace Leigh's father, their life lessons help Leigh cope with his parents' divorce.
I remember reading many of Cleary's books as a kid, either on my own or with my dad reading them to me before bed. Yet, I remember these books as fun stories, not ones that would impart life lessons. Dear Mr. Henshaw stood out from all of these books even as a kid most likely because the protagonist was a kid who enjoyed reading and writing, and Leigh stood out for me. Reading this story through adult eyes has given me a greater appreciation for Beverly Cleary's books for elementary school readers. Not only does she create well fleshed out characters, she has given children a protagonist who is not a superhero or super athlete, but an everyday kid who is coping with real life problems that they can relate to.
While the subject matter may be a touch over my first grader's head, I am glad that she brought Dear Mr. Henshaw home so that I could relive a childhood favorite. I remember touching scenes like eating fried chicken in the rain and the lunchbox alarm as though I read the book yesterday, and have gained a deeper appreciation for Beverly Cleary from reading her work through adult eyes. I have found out that there is a follow up book Strider which I may or may not have read, but I will be looking for it now to see where Cleary takes Leigh on his journey through life.
یکی از بهترین کتابهایی که در حوزهی ادبیات نوجوان خوندم. کتاب مجموعهای از نامههای پسر نوجوانی است به نویسندهی محبوبش که در این نامهها علاوه بر اینکه شرحی از زندگیاش میدهد، برای نویسنده توضیح میدهد که به نویسندگی علاقه دارد. پسر نوجوان صادقانه به بیان احساساتش میپردازد. گرچه شاید پایان داستان چیزی نبود که انتظارش را بکشم ولی نشان داد که چطور یک پسر نوجوان میتواند رشد کند، ناملایمتیهای زندگی را درک کند و آن ها را بپذیرد.
Dear Mr. Henshaw (Leigh Botts #1), Beverly Cleary Dear Mr. Henshaw first published 1983, is a juvenile epistolary novel, by Beverly Cleary. Every school year, Leigh Botts writes a letter to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw. In the 6th grade, Leigh's class has an assignment to write letters to their favorite authors. Leigh includes all the questions he was given as a numbered list. Mr. Henshaw writes back, teases Leigh for not doing research, and includes more questions for the boy to answer. Leigh is angry and first refuses to answer. But when Leigh's mother finds out, she demands he show Mr. Henshaw the courtesy of a reply. Through his answers to Mr. Henshaw, Leigh's concerns and conflicts are revealed. He struggles with his parents' divorce, being the new kid in school, his relationship with a neglectful father, and a school lunch thief. In a later letter, Mr. Henshaw encourages him to keep a diary of his thoughts and feelings. Leigh is reconciled to the writer, and his new diary is at first written to a Mr. Pretend Henshaw. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1991 میلادی عنوان: آقاى هنشاو عزيز؛ نویسنده: بورلی کلییری؛ مترجم: پروین (فاطمه) علیپور؛ تهران، صدا و سیما: انتشارات سروش؛ 1370؛ در 110 ص، مصور؛ چاپ دوم 1376؛ موضوع: داستانهای نوجوانان از نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20 م آقای هنشاو عزیز؛ رمانی کوتاه از نویسنده ی آمریکایی: «بورلی کلی یری» است. نامه های یک نوجوان ده ساله به نام «لی» به نویسنده ی مورد علاقه اش آقای هنشاو خیالی خویش است...؛ پدر و مادر «لی» به تازگی از هم سوا شده اند، پدر «لی» راننده ی کامیون است، «لی» عاشق نویسندگی ست، او به مدرسه میرود، و هر روز در زنگ ناهار، یکی بخش مورد علاقه ی از ناهار او را میدزد...؛ «لی» برای «هنشاو»، از درگیریهای ذهنی مینویسد، بیش از همه، از علاقه اش به نویسندگی میگوید، و نامه ی عجیب آقای «هنشاو»، مسیر زندگی «لی» را دیگر میکند...؛ ا. شربیانی
This cunningly-woven allegory of the Cold War's nuclear buildup is simple and gripping enough for children to understand, if a bit fleshless. Our adolescent narrator, one Leigh Botts of California (both an immediate reference to Harvard President and Interim Committee member James Bryant Conant and a deep frappe indeed to the testicles-or-vagina of Bridge to Terebithia's androgynous lead character), devoid of a father figure (the waning British Empire, their ocean-spanning fleet here captured in Botts Senior's beet-trucking service), has his lunch repeatedly stolen (bombed) by unknown (presumed Japanese, un-interred and dangerous) students or perhaps external forces (Rome-Berlin Axis, spreading spectre of Bolshevism, Reverse Trilateral Commission, etc). Ms. Botts strikes an elegant and delightful, at times even eerie, Kittie Oppenheimer throughout. Leigh launches an all-out crash program to develop an alarm system (note the reference to Teller's "Alarm Clock" (failed) layered thermonuclear device, prior to the Teller-Ulam application of reradiation, plasma and finally ablation), sparing no expense (a jowly local electronics store owner's a passable cameo for General Leslie Groves). Finally, with the weapon system complete, Leigh flies a bus we may as well dub the Enola Gay to school...only to find that, as the sole remaining hyperpower, his defenses have become his undoing. We dream of a world without the threat of nuclear extinction and shed a tear as Leigh opens his lunchbox, assaulting friends, foe, and self with literally hundreds of millipascals of acoustic overpressure in a scene that disturbingly anticipates the 9/11 incidents and perhaps also steroids in baseball.
Let Leigh Bott's alarm be an alarm for all of us.
There was also something about butterflies, the details of which I've forgotten. Maybe that was just Jurassic Park. No...no. Anyway, doesn't matter, a classic tale of love in the chivalric era.
Holy cow, why didn't I read this as a kid?? I was working on the Bookmobile recently and saw this come through. I thought, "You know, I should probably read that." So I gave it a quick read and was immediately angry at myself for not picking it up sooner. I was Leigh when I was a kid. I was a quiet nerdy kid who loved to read and wanted to be an author and had divorced parents. I would have related to this book so much. It might have even helped me in some way, made me feel less lonely. But at least I can say I've read it.
This thing put me through many different emotions. It's just so honest and real. And sad, but hopeful at the same time, yet it doesn't try too hard. I loved it.
شاید تنها قسمت جذاب زندگی یه بچه در شرایط فعلی دسترسیاش به انواع کتابهای داستان باشه. وقتی نوجوون بودم بهجز کانون پرورش فکری که چندان هم به خونه نزدیک نبود، راههای سختی برای پیدا کردن یه کتاب مناسب سنم داشتم. اغلب ناچار بودم کتابهای فهیمه رحیمی و نسرین ثامنی رو که خالههام از کتابخونه میگرفتن، بخونم اونم با کلی نقونوق که توی دوازده سیزده ساله چرا ازین کتابای عاشقانه خوشت میاد؟ در حالیکه من ازون کتابا خوشم نمیاومد. فقط گزینهی بهتری نداشتم. بگذریم. میخوام بگم اگه در نوجوونی این رمان رو میخوندم مطمئنم خیلی کیف میکردم. مطمئنم منم تصمیم میگرفتم توی اون سررسیدهایی که یادداشت روزانه مینوشتم، داستان بنویسم. احتمالاً شیوهی پسر توی داستان رو برمیداشتم و یاد میگرفتم چطور میشه شروع کرد به نوشتن داستان. خلاصه که آه از فقدان کتاب مناسب در زمان مناسب.
Rereading this book, I was struck with how Cleary manages to convey her narrator's complex of feelings in the limited vocabulary and understated style of Leigh Botts, a lonely and isolated young boy. Leigh faces several problems in the narrative--his lunch is stolen, he doesn't understand his parents' divorce, he resents a "pizza boy" whose mother Leigh's father seems to be dating--but none are neatly solved; Cleary refuses to resolve them conclusively and instead shows Leigh struggling to address them as best as he can, reflecting Leigh's use of his writing to understand and, perhaps, learn from the experiences. Eventually Leigh's interest in writing leads him to enter a contest by writing a "story"--a description, rather, of a ride in his father's truck--that only wins "Honorable Mention" and fails to attract the attention of his schoolmates, but a visiting author notices it and compliments Leigh for writing honestly about something he knows and has feelings about. Likewise, this novel is an honest account of what seem to be a genuine young boy's complex of feelings.
Watching the movie "Stuck in Love" a character makes reference to this book as his favorite while the hard character of his affection felt the same. It is now one of my favorites as it has so many parallels to my life as a young boy. It doesn't bother me this is Jr. Fiction, what bothers me is, it took so long for me to find.
بچه که بودم کتابو خوندم و یه مدت خیلی دنبالش گشتم تا یکی از دوستام دوباره بهم هدیه دادش. کتاب داستان لی پسربچه ی تنهاییه که برای آقای هنشاو، نویسنده ی شوخ طبع موردعلاقه ش نامه می نویسه و کم کم بین این دو نفر یه دوستی مکاتبه ای شکل می گیره. چقدر دوست دارم همه چیز این کتابو بهترین گزینه برای هدیه دادن به بچه هایی که خاطره نویسی می کنن.
"De Liver De Letter De Sooner De Better De Later De Letter De Madder I Getter"
Ever since the second grade, noone has been a bigger fan of author Boyd Henshaw then Leigh Botts. Now in sixth grade, Leigh's life is in upheaval. His parents have split, his cross-country trucker father is absent, and a thief steals from his lunch bag almost every day. So when his teacher assigns a letter writing project, he naturally decides to write to Mr. Henshaw. What if his hero's answer could change his life.
A story of letters, lunchs, and life. A tale of the power of words.
Trigger warnings for divorce and abandonment.
Upset and lonely, Leigh felt like a lost shoe on the highway. It was impossible not to hear the tough yet vulnerable anger in his questions. He wrote of his fears, worries, and want to be noticed, with a distinct voice we've all felt at one point in life. I loved how the state of his writing echoed his journey in processing his feelings about his parents divorce, new school, etc. Leigh was so relatably human.
From his hard-working mother to is primarily absent father, from his literary hero, to a kind janitor, the supporting cast truly impacted Leigh. Although we only saw glimpses of them through his letters, their different relationships with him truly took a toll on the young boy. His stable mother, and the caring Mr. Finely, the janitor, were wonderful, but I absolutely loathed his father. However, the way Mr. Henshaw's background but central advice rippled around Leigh's life was well written.
Opening Dear Mr. Henshaw was a good and bad trip down memory lane. Despite spending my fourth grade Labor Day weekend in tears, completing an overwhelming project about the book that was all for naught, I enjoyed the epistolaries of a young boy coping with divorce. Heartfelt, Beverly Cleary's story of loneliness was met with a healthy, hopeful attempt at laying bare pent-up feelings. Peppered with black and white illustrations, this was a quick, meaningful read.
Dear reader, I hope you have a hero like Mr. Henshaw.
فکر میکنم نه، ده ساله بودم که اولین بار با رامونا آشنا شدم. الان کتابهای رامونا به چند ترجمه و اندازه و رنگ همهجا هستند، اما من یک کتاب نارنجی داشتم از کانون پرورش فکری که روی جلدش، رامونا دراز کشیده بود و زل زده بود توی چشمهای پدرش. رامونا و پدرش فارغ از اینکه یکی از اولین کتابهای "واقعی" من بود، یعنی عکسدار نبود و شبیه کتابهای بزرگترها بود، یک لذت دیگر هم داشت: رامونا شبیه من بود. مثل من از روی تخت میپرید تا هیولای زیر تخت شکارش نکند. شبها کتابهای ترسناک را بین کتابها پنهان میکرد و همیشه دوست داشت خمیردندان را تا ته فشار دهد، و البته یک بار این کار را کرد. برای من عجیب بود دختری که دقیقا آن طرف دنیا زندگی میکند، انقدر شبیه من باشد. سالها بعد تمام راموناها بهعلاوهی هنریها را خواندم و عاشق خانم نویسنده با اسم سختش شدم. این کتاب هم از نویسندهی راموناست. لی باتس گرچه با رامونا خیلی فرق دارد، به همان اندازه واقعی و دوستداشتنیست. کتاب در ابتدا، نامههای لیست به نویسندهی مورد علاقهاش. لی برای یک پروژهی کلاسی چند سوال از آقای هنشاو میپرسد. آقای هنشاو پاسخها را میدهد و چند سوال از لی میپرسد. لی به اصرار مادرش، جواب سوالات آقای هنشاو را میدهد. اما خب، لی ده ساله است، زود خسته میشود. بنابراین نامههایش کوتاه و پرتعدادند. نهایتا آقای هنشاو که احتمالا از کثرت نامهها به ستوه آمده، به لی پیشنهاد میکند به جای نامه، یادداشتهایش را در دفتر خاطرات ادامه دهد. لی که جز نامه نوشتن کار دیگری بلد نیست، یادداشتهایش را به سبک همان نامهها خطاب به آقای هنشاو خیالی مینویسد. لی از زندگیاش مینویسد، از نبودن پدرش، از مدرسهی جدید و از دزدی که هر روز بهترین قسمت نهارش را میدزد... خیلی لطیف و دوستداشتنیست. ترجمهی خوبی هم دارد. به شدت توصیه میشود :)
A brilliant book! Beverly does a fantastic job of showing how Leigh's writing changes as he keeps writing. At first it is short with little to say and by the end he is getting good at showing what happens. A simple story. This is similar to Crenshaw in several ways. This is a powerful story and I can't believe it took me this long to read it. There are great tips if children really want to be a writer too. Please get kids to read this. It's a story will enjoy.
یکی دو روز پیش خیلی اتفاقی فیلمی دیدم به نام stuck in love 2012 دختری که یکی از نقشهای اصلی رو باز میکرد نویسندهای نو قلم بود و در جایی از فیلم دوست پسرش ازش پرسید چه کتابی رو خیلی دوست داری ؟ پاسخ شنید Dear Mr hanshaw. محرک من برای خواندن کتاب راستش اینی بود که بالا نوشتم. ولی چه شکار خوبی بود. خیلی خوب بود و بسیار خوش گذشت. از این آثار لطیفی بود که با تمی کودکانه حسابی عواطف و احساسات آدم را به قلیان وا میداشت و اشک را در چشمها جمع میکرد و یک حال اشکی و شیرینی میساخت. من خیلی لذت بردم. کتاب را در یک ساعت میخوانید و حتما خوش خواهد گذشت.
Dear Mr. Henshaw, (crossed out) I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper. And I don't hate my father either. I can't hate him. Maybe things would be easier if I could. (PG. 73)
John Newbery Medal- YA- 1983
The story is a series of letters from Leigh Botts to his favorite author Mr. Henshaw, starting in second grade to currently being in sixth grade. It is the transformation of Leigh's feelings over his parent's divorce, ranging from rage to guilt to sadness and finally acceptance.
Very quick read even when dealing with such a hard topic as divorce. It was... different... I can't imagine Mr. Henshaw being excited to get angry bursts of letters from a kid. I'm sure he was planning to get a restraining order sometime between these years....
A sad little bittersweet book. Leigh Botts (boy) is seen here through his letters and journal entries, written both for his own thoughts, and via mail to an author Mr. Henshaw. This book takes place in a West Coast town, near farmlands, and during a decade when a television was discouraged in the homes where children resided. We see four years through Leigh's eyes, but mainly during a time when he's in 6th grade.
Leigh tells his own story forthrightly, and with the intention to be stoic, but he can't disguise his loneliness and confusion, about why is life unfair. Why is his name spelled like a girl's? Why doesn't his dad call more often from the road, just to say hello? How often does his mom worry about her income, and whether she'll be able to pay rent during a given month? Leigh is irritated on a daily basis at school, because someone keeps stealing food from his lunch bag. He doesn't have any friends.
I'm not sure how this book impacts current young readers, if at all. The overall tone is direct yet gentle; not a lot happens in the plot. But the themes are still relevant, undoubtedly. Sadness and loneliness are unavoidable human conditions at any age. I think that with upcoming generations, it's important to keep teaching them to fully acknowledge their feelings and emotions, recognize them as valid, and then find healthy ways to express themselves. This book doesn't have bright illustrations, fireworks, fight scenes, etc. But those emotions were clear and encapsulated, very much worth consideration and meditation.
Dear Mr. Henshaw is Beverly Cleary’s highest award-winner, capturing the Newbery and Christopher Awards in the early 80’s, yet it is one of my least favorites. Written as a series of letters and journal entries, with absolutely no narration, Mrs. Cleary somehow, miraculously, weaves together a plot, a central-California setting and a well-rounded character. This accomplishment is a testament to her craft; the story is emotional and compelling. I simply don’t care for the style.
In a departure from her usual optimistic, fun-and-quirky subjects, Mrs. Cleary introduces us to Leigh Botts, a troubled boy who wants to become a writer. Through a series of letters sent to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw, we catch insights into Leigh’s likes and dislikes, his hopes and insecurities, his absent, immature, truck-driver father, his wonderfully strong and supportive mother, and his loneliness. He quickly catches our hearts and our sympathies.
As Leigh’s first letters are rather insulting and demanding (humorous peeks into a child’s mind), Mr. Henshaw encourages him to keep a journal instead. We watch Leigh’s writing abilities grow stronger and stronger. Though Leigh’s never receives the happy turn of fortune he longs for, he learns, he grows, he meets with some success, and he grows stronger. For a child, this is a story of the triumph of the human spirit. For a parent, it is a wake-up call to consider exactly what adult selfishness and irresponsibility can do to the children who depend on us. One not to be taken lightly.
Though I much prefer traditional narration, the skill, the message, the powerful emotion of Dear Mr. Henshaw prompts me to recommend it.
I picked this up in a thrift store thinking that it was another book entirely but when I started it I found that it was charming story told from the point of view of a young man dealing with the fallout of his parent's divorce. The young man is given an assignment in school to write to a favorite author and when the author mails him back a list of questions, he endeavors to answer them in series of letters and then journals as he grows up a bit.
Overall it's a great book for children of middle school age and yet there's a story here that adults might find enjoyable as well. At 132 pages with illustrations thrown in as well, its a lightning fast read and well worth the reading time.
The author is best known for her Henry Huggins stories but this one is a stand-alone that does a fairly nice job of giving youngsters a picture of what some divorces may be like. Given the number of THOSE in this country, the home of DOMA legislation, it's surprising that more children's books don't deal with this subject.
FUCK YOU. I heard you reply to children writing letters to you so this I gotta try. Fuck you for replying to Leigh Boots, (that boy who was dumbly obsessed with your books) with 10 stupid questions that are by definition, useless (unless you're a 6-year-old pixie spending afternoon sipping apple juice answering questions from a slumbook.) You might as well stab him in the eye with a corkscrew. It killed his potential, Mr. Henshaw. I know Leigh wouldn't like me writing to you but I got to give it some shit. He works as an electrician now, just two blocks away from the Main Curb. Guess he diverted his attention to Thomas Edison. Oh, in case you don't know, we're close friends. Probably because we we both given a girl's name. Anyway, he's move on over your twisted cannibalism. He gave up writing because of you. He thinks you're stupid. He thinks Ways to Amuse a Dog is stupid. Fuck you Boyd. And no, don't even bother replying.
جزو کتاب هایی هست که نوجوانی خواندم و از خاطرم پاک شده الان که مجدد خوندم برام شیرین و جذاب بود لی باتس، پسری که همراه پدر و مادرش در یک کانکس که به کامیون پدرش وصل هست، زندگی می کنه و برای تکلیف کلاسی نامه نگاریش رو با نویسنده ای به اسم هنشاو ادامه میده. این نامه نگاری ادامه پیدا می کنه و بعضا دو طرفه میشه، این در همان زمانی اتفاق می افته که پدر و مادر لی باتس از هم جدا میشن و اون با مادرش در یک خانه قدیمی ساکن می شن. اتفاقات روزمره ای رو از زبان یک پسربچه مدرسه ای کم رو و با هوشی متوسط که به نهارش هم حساس هست و وضع مالی خوبی هم نداره، در قالب نامه به اقای هنشاو دنبال می کنیم. اقای هنشاوی که با پرسیدن سوالاتی از او و درخواست جوابشان و دعوت لی به یادداشت نگاری روزانه، پسر داستان رو به نوشتن بیشتر و بیشتر ترغیب می کنه. کتابی که من خوندم با ترجمه خانم پروین علی پور و متعلق به نشر سروش در چاپ 1370بود! متوجه شدم جلد دومی هم داره، کسی از اون جلد خبری داره که چه طور میشه بهش دسترسی داشت؟
I didn't remember a thing about this book except that I was kind of "meh" on it when I was a kid. I still feel that way. I think Cleary was poking fun at herself with Mr. Henshaw. His books are usuaully funny, as Cleary's were, and one is not but that's Ok because Leigh likes it anyway. This one is not one of Cleary's usual, charming children's books about slightly naughty kids in a neighborhood. It's more of an ISSUE novel but it still features a relatable real life boy. At first Leigh is young, immature and lazy but he grows older and wiser through his friendship with Mr. Henshaw (and the fictional Mr. Henshaw). As Leigh deals with his issues with his dad and school he learns a lot.
Leigh is really smart. I was impressed with the burglar alarm building. I could never have figured that out.
The description of Leigh's neighborhood is very vivid, as is Dad's trucking routes. The setting feels a little more real than Klickitat which is pretty generic.
The story probably spoke to some of types of kids she met when she was a librarian- kids who had harder lives than the Quimbys and Hugginses. It probably still speaks to kids today even if some of the details might be slightly dated.
As an adult reader, I sympathize with the mom and how the dad was not a supportive partner. It sounds like she had two kids- her son and her husband. There are also hints that the mom's family life was not good. Her dad was apparently an alcoholic but Cleary doesn't get into the nitty gritty of that. The mom's childhood was bad and boring and she wanted out. She was young and idealized the dad as some kind of knight in shining armor who swept her off her feet and took her away from the depressing reality of her life. It was fun until she decided to grow up and her husband didn't.
Was this book worthy of the Newbery in 1985? Given the lackluster selection, I'd say so; especially because it still holds hope decades later.
Cleary does great with the voice of a middle school boy. I just would have loved a bit of back and forth. We only read from Leigh's letters/diary entries. I would have loved to hear from Mr. Henshaw too. I know that isn't the point, but it's what I wanted! haha.
There are essays and thinkpieces aplenty for Ramona Quimby, as there should be, but where are my 10,000 words of meta about Leigh Botts?? I love him. This one and its sequel, Strider, are the most YA of the Cleary books I've read and they're really good. As usual, Cleary nails the minutia of a kid's hopes and worries.
Some observations from grown-up me:
Audiobook: Read by Pedro Pascal and, assuming it's that Pedro Pascal, is 100% why I checked this out of the library, not going to lie. He's good but also he's narrating as a sixth-grader here, so like, DON'T JUDGE ME. Since this book is 100% in the form of letters or the narrator's diary the direction to not go wild with voices was a good one. Pascal managed to capture the often petulant, young kid tone the earlier letters/entries take. Very solid. One minus is that I'm pretty sure this was originally stitched together as multiple CDs and so there was a weird musical break in the middle, presumably through the CD change, with jaunty elevator type music, but... it kept GOING through the start of a chapter, and that chapter was Leigh being really upset about something. The jaunty happy music blaring over the top of the narration was distracting and ill-timed, plus it was hard to hear the narration because the music was so loud. 👎
شاید اگر الان میخوندمش ستاره های کمتری میگرفت ولی در دوران اوایل نوجوونی خوندمش ,تو یه مسیر شمال به تهران و فکر کنم دو سه باری خوندمش و تجربه اروم لذت بخشی بود ضمن اینکه من چنین خاطرات خوشی رو با مجموعه رامونا هم دارم پس ایول به بورلی کلیری