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Fiction Club Archive > Feb '17 - Dory & the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon

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message 1: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 160 comments Jumping ahead by one vote, please join us in our February Friendship read and enjoy Dory & the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on a story about friendship, real or imagined.


message 2: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6149 comments Mod
I've just requested Dory and the Real True Friend from my library. I'm a little leery, but I'll read it with an open mind!


message 3: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie I have requested it too. I have no idea what it is going to be like either.


message 4: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 01, 2017 04:45PM) (new)

Manybooks | 6814 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "I've just requested Dory and the Real True Friend from my library. I'm a little leery, but I'll read it with an open mind!"

The cover image is not promising but like you, I will try to see if the library has a copy (but I am not willing to consider purchasing a copy if the library does not have one, and ILL usually takes too long).

But from the book description, Dory's imagination feels a bit Anne of Green Gables like so perhaps I would enjoy this.


message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob) (jenisnotabooksnob) | 170 comments I reserved it. Cover art is definitely not my sort of thing, but, it does have pretty decent reviews. At least it sounds like it isn't really long, some reviewers were saying their 5 year old read it.


message 6: by Michelle (last edited Feb 06, 2017 12:34AM) (new)

Michelle Turnure (mturnure_nyc) | 1 comments Thanks for the recommendation! I loved this book and had so much fun reading it. Although my daughter is too young to appreciate it right now (read it out loud to my newborn), I plan to introduce it to her when she gets older. It was a joy to read and the illustrations were raw and witty. Book had great energy!


message 7: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments i read it this morning. It's very fast. I quite liked it. While the illustrations are not really my style, I feel like they did add to the story, particularly when illustrating Dory's imagination. Her older brother and sister think she needs to try to hide her real personality so that she will fit in and make "real" friends rather than the imaginary friends she usually plays with. (And man, her imaginary friends are such clever and truly imaginative characters...a male fairy godmother, a monster and a witchy lady...not just imaginary kids her age like I had and my daughters had!) When she goes to school, she meets a girl named Rosabelle and tries to befriend her. But at first, Rosabelle doesn't seem to be that interested in being friends...until Dory lets some of her imagination/her real self show. I liked that once she started to be herself, her friendship was able to develop. In a perfect world, that is how things should happen (but don't always! Some kids really struggle to make friends for a variety of reasons...)

This is a very quick read, geared at early elementary (probably primarily 2/3 grade...several of my 3rd graders are reading books in this series right now. But I think some kinders and first graders may be able to read it.)


message 8: by Jane (new)

Jane | 69 comments What a delightful quick read. I could so relate to Dory, i also had an imaginary friend as a young child. I loved the way Dory's siblings were portrayed, so realistic. The illustrations were a perfect fit for the story, all the dishes in the sink made me giggle a little. I'm lookin forward to recommending this book to my third graders.


message 9: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob) (jenisnotabooksnob) | 170 comments Just finished reading it to my 6 year old- my review follows. :)

Cute book. I will say that it really wasn't my kind of book. BUT, that isn't important, this is a book for children who are just getting into chapter books. It still has plenty of illustrations and is silly and fun. The main character, Dory, is starting regular school and her siblings tell her that she won't be able to make friends if she is too weird. Weird includes imaginary friends, a monster and a fairy godmother and so on. Dory finally makes a friends when she decides to be herself.

Cute story, good message behind it. However, it isn't one of those books that you pick up and read as an adult because it is entertaining for adults, it is a book you read to a child.

I would assume that Abby Hanlon has read Dahl and enjoyed him.


message 10: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie I just finished the book and agree that this book is aimed at beginning readers, with a cute story, a good message and funny illustrations which help make the story easier to read.
I am not a big fan of the illustrations, as some are better than others(the non-humans. I can see how this book could be popular though, because Dory has a great imagination.


message 11: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6814 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I just finished the book and agree that this book is aimed at beginning readers, with a cute story, a good message and funny illustrations which help make the story easier to read.
I am not a big f..."


I agree, the illustrations leave a bit to be desired. And for me, the story is almost a bit too simple, more like an outline than a finished and polished tale (even with it being geared towards beginning readers). I also find the rather laissez faire attitude towards how much Dory is bossed by especially the older sister annoying.


message 12: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6149 comments Mod
What a pleasant surprise! I don't love the illustrations, but mostly they're ok w/ me except for the mouths. I don't love the story, because I predicted the ending from the beginning.

But I do love Dory and the way it doesn't take her too long to stick up for herself, despite what her older siblings say, despite what the social protocols of her peers are. And I especially love Dory's imaginary friends... I so wish I had imaginary friends....

However, I do feel a bit sorry for George and the hopscotch girls - I guess they'll have to find their own ways in the world of first grade. (But seriously, is this how cliques and rivalries begin?)

Thank you, group, for alerting me to this author. I have already requested Dory Fantasmagory, the first book of the series.


message 13: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 13, 2017 01:31PM) (new)

Manybooks | 6814 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "What a pleasant surprise! I don't love the illustrations, but mostly they're ok w/ me except for the mouths. I don't love the story, because I predicted the ending from the beginning.

But I do lo..."


Dory is what I wish I had been able to be when my own siblings bossed me or still boss me (hey, and I am the oldest, but I guess I am also the weirdest, at least according to my family). I still find the story a bit short simplistic but Dory, like you, I love.

I did have imaginary friends, well, I talked to this long object at the end of the hallway beside the closet, and only later, after we had moved to Canada I came to the rather aghast conclusion that I had actually been chatting with a hunting rifle (sigh).


message 14: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6149 comments Mod
lol! Weird is best, according to all the best story-books at least, and according to me....


message 15: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6814 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "lol! Weird is best, according to all the best story-books at least, and according to me...."

And according to me as well :-)


message 16: by Steve (new)

Steve Shilstone | 184 comments Hurrah for all of us benign weirdos! (no hurrah for malignant weirdos)


message 17: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (last edited Feb 14, 2017 08:32AM) (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6149 comments Mod
hah! good point, Steve...

Dory seems mostly benign, at least at age 6.
Here's hoping she stays that way, instead of getting so harassed she reacts by becoming twisted....


message 18: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2222 comments Mod
I also very much enjoyed this second book in the series as much as I enjoyed the first one. Dory reminds me a little of Ramona Quimby. I found it quite funny, especially all of the wardrobe choices. And I loved the way she was able to "I told you so" her siblings at the end of the book. I also really liked the way her new friend was able to keep up with and contribute to Dory's imaginary scenarios.


message 19: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6149 comments Mod
The friend is quite a gal. I thought for a moment she might turn out to be spoiled, but judging by the picture of her dad, I'm guessing not so much.

And speaking of dads, nice to see them so involved! Maybe nowadays it's more common, but as a reader old enough to be a grandma, it's still special for me to see.


message 20: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6814 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "The friend is quite a gal. I thought for a moment she might turn out to be spoiled, but judging by the picture of her dad, I'm guessing not so much.

And speaking of dads, nice to see them so invo..."


I guess that also kind of reminds of the Ramona books, as the father generally was quite involved in and with the children (and for that matter, the Anastasia Krupnik books also show a dad that is involved in the story and with the children). But for the the times, these two series were probably more exceptions.


message 21: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2222 comments Mod
I agree--good to see involved dads in these stories.


message 22: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6149 comments Mod
Well, I've now enjoyed Dory Fantasmagory and can recommend it to fans of this. Not a masterpiece, but lots of fun.


message 23: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 21, 2017 03:13PM) (new)

Manybooks | 6814 comments Mod
I did like Dory, but as with many other books meant for early readers I was personally left a bit disappointed and feeling like I had read more an outline than an actual story. I kind of felt the same a few years ago when I tried Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch (although just like with this Dory & the Real True Friend I did empathise with and even appreciate the main character, Mildred Hubble, just thought the story itself too simple and almost a bit in point form).


message 24: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6814 comments Mod
Although I do appreciate the general concept of Abby Hanlon's Dory and the Real True Friend, have much enjoyed Dory as a character (as a presented person) and truly and majorly both cherish and even treasure her inventiveness and imagination (and especially that she has enough confidence and strength of personality to not only do what her imagination dictates, but to also have no seeming regrets with regard to the same), I actually do find both Dory and her new, her in the end real and true best friend Rosabelle a trifle overly exaggerated (both how they are depicted and how they tend to behave and act).

But that all being said and my issues with the characterisation of Dory and Rosabelle notwithstanding, even more of an annoying and frustrating issue for me personally is Abby Hanlon's general writing style, in so far that Dory and the Real True Friend often feels and reads more like a simplified plot outline that a finished novel. Even taking into consideration that Dory and the Real True Friend is a story conceptualised and specifically penned for recently independent readers, Abby Hanlon's narrative feels a bit too choppy, jumpy and disjointed for me, with especially the transitions form one episode to the next being far from smooth. And actually, in my humble opinion, the disjointedness, the outline like quality of the text, of the written words, only seems to augment the already exaggerated qualities of Dory and Rosabelle's imagination, (something that might well appeal to the intended audience, to younger children just learning to read, but leaves me both cold and rather unsatisfied).

And thus, while I have definitely enjoyed Dory and Rosabelle's fantastical play acting and imagination to an extent, the simplicity of the textual presentation, the rather obvious lack of description and narrative expansion always gives me the uncomfortable feeling of having missed something (and perhaps even something essential), of not having been given, not having been presented with the entire story, the entire contents of the same (although I do in fact both realise and even understand that for the intended audience Dory and the Real True Friend might and perhaps even likely hit the proverbial sweet spot and be very much enjoyed if not even a personal favourite). And with this salient fact in mind, I actually still tend to recommend Dory and the Real True Friend for younger children (especially if they enjoy reading about imaginative and strong-willed little girls who are not shy about their imagination), but personally and from a reading pleasure and enjoyment point of view, two stars is all I am willing to consider (as I also do not at all like the accompanying cartoon-like illustrations and am frankly more than a bit annoyed at and by the fact that the author, that Abby Hanlon never really actively censures, condemns or even remotely punishes Dory's siblings' verbal nastiness to her, portraying even Dory's parents as at best more than a bit clueless with regard to what I personally can only call and label the condescending and nasty sibling-based verbal abuse to which Dory is constantly being exposed and subjected to by especially her older sister).

And finally, I only read Dory and the Real True Friend because it was selected as a monthly read for the Fiction Club in the Children's Literature Group, and while I do not in any way regret having read the novel, I am also not (at least at present) interested enough in continuing with the rest of the series (I do wonder though if I would have a better understanding of Dory and of her family etc. if we had read the first novel and not the second novel of the series as our group read, although I do still think that the choppy and outline-like, overly simplistic writing style would still and more than likely have bothered me rather much, as while I do not as a rule much enjoy overly involved and too convoluted, too wordy writing, I am equally and massively annoyed with and by styles and narratives that are too standard, that read simplistically and undescriptively).


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