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Letting Go of Bobby James: Or How I Found My Self of Steam
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Letting Go of Bobby James: Or How I Found My Self of Steam

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  128 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A heartwarming journey to self-discovery

When sixteen-year-old Sally Jo Walker, known as Jody, is abandoned at a gas station by her husband after he hits her, she summons up all the courage she can to move forward. With just twenty dollars to her name, she begins a new life in Jackson Beach, Florida, washing dishes at Thelma's Open 24-Hour Café and sneaking into the cineple
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published August 13th 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books that I have read. It was short and sweet, but packed a punch. Sally Jo Walker (Jody) makes coleslaw...she was also just punched by her husband, Bobby James. Jody and Bobby James have a tumultuous relationship to say the least. They are headed cross country on their honeymoon. They are both from down south, with no money. Jody's mother thinks that Jody should cowtow to her new husband, much like her mother does to her husband. "It's God's Way" is her favorite saying ...more
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Wendolyn by: Abby
I love the title! And the reference to a great Willie Nelson song I did not know, "Forgiving you is easy, but forgetting seems to take the longest time."

I was confused by what seems to be the introduction of two new characters near the end of the book, on page 116 - Phyliss and Big Al. I did not remember and could not find them mentioned previously. Had that section been edited out of the book?

My favorite line was on page 130: "Out here it looks like the end of the world, like God ran clean out
Lisbeth Solberg
Apr 28, 2008 rated it liked it
This is one I bought at Children's Literature Fall Gala 2006 when my friend, Karen, took me with her. We had lunch and heard Avi read aloud and talk; then we stood in line and got things signed.

Its first-person narrative works pretty well, as much as I can tell, not being Southern, but the urban-family resolution, though sweet, seemed a little pat to me. One of my students is reading it now, and I'm waiting to see how she likes it. So far, she does. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: my YA fans
Recommended to Claudia by: Lexie
Shelves: ya-books, chick-lit
Reflections of Billie Letts's Where the Heart Is, and Joan Bauer's YA novels, but JOdy is a strong little girl, actually a married woman at 16, to a jerk of a teenager...Bobby James is not a nice person. He leaves her stranded in a little town in Florida, where she begins to thrive.

Quirky characters and a great cole slaw recipe...what more can you ask for?
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Sixteen year-old Sally Jo Walker (Jody) is left by her new husband, Bobby James at a Florida gas station, hundreds of miles from home and anything familiar. As this young innocent starts a new life for herself, she begins to discover her “self of steam” as she makes some difficult decisions in order to stand up for herself and help a new friend in need.

Lisa Lewis
Nov 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Ardell Thomsen
This is strictly a "chick" book, but it has a great lesson for girls...DON'T STAY WITH A GUY WHO HITS YOU! Jody, the main character is a drop-out who marries Bobby James very young. He hits her once, and then he leaves her stranded when she doesn't come out of the restroom at a gas station. She is left to make her way in the world, and she does a wonderful job.
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, realistic
Sally Jo (Jody) Walker loves Bobby James, but he hit her, then abandoned her in a gas station bathroom. Now she is on her own, trying to survive. She finds a job as a dishwasher at Thelma's Open 24 Hour Cafe. She finds friends there, and friends in pregnant Effaline and Dooley. Now Jody must decide if she wants her new life or Bobby James more.
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was really cute. First off I had to read it because my boyfriends name is Bobby James, so I wanted to see how they compared to each other. Completely different personalities!
But the story was basically about a girl who was trying to pick her self up after her boyfriend had dumped her. It was really interesting and uplifting.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Every young girl who wants to grow up and have a happy life needs to read it...and every young boy who wants to grow up to be a good man! It's frightening and funny at the same time.
Sep 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
It was difficult to read a book that has an unintelligent narrator. The title says it all.[return][return]After being left by her husband at a gas station in Florida, sixteen-year-old Sally Jo Walker, also known as Jody, makes some difficult decisions and a better life for herself.
Jamie Miller
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Letting Go of Bobby James and How I found my Self of Steam was a great book for anyone who has ever had a bad relationship, or even seen abad relationship. It makes you feel like you are a part of the story and it's pretty easy reading.
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book because it was short, a day read. It was also kinda innocent, in that non-educated way. But sometimes the non-educated are smarter than the educated, all because they are not educated.

Word to the wise. ;)

Well anyway, I really liked Jody, and I hope you will too.
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is amazing. Im a 13 year old, and I've read this book 3 times, in 6th grade, in 7th grade, and now in 8th, I love it so much. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone! Not a waste of time.
Sharon Skinner
May 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Some of the protagonist's conflict seemed a bit too easily resolved. However, it's an entertaining story about a difficult subject told in a strongvoice. A quick read.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone.
Shelves: favorites
This was a great book!
It was very inspiring and cute.
I guess it was sort of my first favorite book.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was a great read for teens which will show them the consequences of bad choices. It is funny, but at the same time shows how serious life can be for young people on their own.
Mar 05, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was pretty okay.
It wasn't the best book I've read recently. The writing was kinda jumbled together.
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Short but poignant story about a young girl dealing with domestic violence.
Nov 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book started of confusing because she's writing a letter but then you understand why shes writing the letter, pretty much the whole book is the letter. This book is awesome.
Kim B.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-read
This requires a good amount of suspension of disbelief for a few parts, but if you want a sweet story with a great no-nonsense main character, this might be right up your alley.
Emily-the band geek that is proud;] not telling you
my bro is reading this book and said it is good so i will read it
Tara Eggers
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Sara Hensley
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Valerie Hobbs is the author of many award winning novels for young adults including Sonnys War, Tender, and How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadnt Called You Back, for which she was designated a Flying Start author by Publishers Weekly in 1996. Hobbs was the winner of the 1999 PEN/Norma Klein award for an emerging voice of literary merit among American writers of childrens fiction and the Arizon ...more
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“Life is too short to suffer anybody's meanness, which is what you can learn eating shrimp with store-bought coleslaw, if you look it straight in the face.” 4 likes
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