Julie Decker's Reviews > A Long Way from Chicago

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
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it was amazing

Joey and his sister Mary Alice live in Chicago, but they spend some of their summers in the country with Grandma. One might think a trip to the sleepy old boonies to stay with an elderly relative wouldn't exactly be the adventure of a lifetime, but Joey and Mary Alice manage to have a heap of strange and exciting experiences--all because their grandmother is a big old mischief maker nobody could ever forget.

This is just one of those books that gets everything perfect--the setting, the characterization, the fun little adventures, and the storytelling all works together to paint a truly entertaining picture. You fall in love with Grandma Dowdel even while you'd hate to be on the receiving end of one of her schemes, and I thought the perspective was so inventive: the grandmother is clearly the focus character throughout, but it manages to come authentically through a little boy (telling the story of his boyhood when he's already a man), and it sneaks in character development for him too that remains consistent throughout (like with details about his obsession with airplanes and the way he fixates on whether he's behaving appropriately for his gender). I also really liked the peeks into times long past, which were just rustic enough to the city-slicker characters that the storytelling provided enough novelty for context. I loved watching old Grandma get the jump on others over and over again while still showing off her humanity and empathy. It was just a great read, and happily it does not pull any kind of punches in contrived attempts to yank your heartstrings like we've come to expect so many award-winning books to do.

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Reading Progress

April 22, 2014 – Shelved
April 22, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
July 23, 2015 – Finished Reading

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