Jen's Reviews > Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
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's review
Mar 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: booksfornephewsandnieces

This year's Newbery winner uses stories from history to engage kids (esp. boys) and even teach some ideals. Jack Gantos (author and protagonist) is grounded in the summer of 1962 for firing his father's WWII gun at the drive-in movie screen without realizing the gun was loaded. The only time he's allowed out of the house (fortunately he's a bookworm who loves history - he'll dream of Pizarro's men melting Inca gold statues after reading about the conquest, for example) is to help an elderly neighbor transcribe the obituaries she writes as the town's original old ladies die off. Miss Volker has a great style, combining anecdotes of the deceased person's life with history from the day they died.

There are some nice moments, like when Jack is hunting for the first time with his father and realizes he doesn't want to see his father shoot a white-tailed deer:

"As soon as I saw him I knew instantly that I didn't want him to die. He was so beautiful and at east in the woods. This was his home, not mine, and I suddently felt like a killer who had broken into his house and was about to shoot him."

The solution: release a fart to scare off the deer. That pretty much sums up the book!

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