Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

Al Capone Shines My Shoes (tales from Alcatraz, #2)
This topic is about Al Capone Shines My Shoes
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ARCHIVE - BOTM discussions > BOTM (1) for JULY/AUGUST is Al Capone Shines My Shoes

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message 1: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1495 comments Mod
We have two books to read through July and August. This thread is for Al Capone Shines My Shoes.
Both books these months are Second In Series, and if you wish, you can read this book’s predecessor too.
When you’ve read the book, add your comments below. Please avoid giving away spoilers to those who maybe haven’t finished it yet.
Enjoy!


message 2: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 01, 2018 06:39AM) (new) - added it

Manybooks | 362 comments I would definitely suggest reading the first book of the series if you have not done so, Al Capone Does My Shirts, as it sets up the series and and what happens in the second book is directly related to the events of the first book.


message 3: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1674 comments Mod
Manybooks wrote: "I would definitely suggest reading the first book of the series if you have not done so, Al Capone Does My Shirts, as it sets up the series and and what happens in the second book is d..."

Have to agree. It's been a while, but I've read them both, and think the second might not make as much sense without the first.


SaraKat | 167 comments Mod
This was another winner for me. It's not a book I'd have chosen for myself, but I gave 5 stars to both the first and second books. I loved the setting and the characters. I thought the way Natalie was looked at was an interesting historical note and liked the way her family was bucking advice and keeping Natalie with them. I wrote longer reviews with all my favorite parts, but here I'll just say that I loved them and will be reading the next ones as well.


message 5: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks | 362 comments SaraKat wrote: "This was another winner for me. It's not a book I'd have chosen for myself, but I gave 5 stars to both the first and second books. I loved the setting and the characters. I thought the way Natalie ..."

I just wish that the parents had been a bit more understandung with regard to always expecting Moose to babysit and be responsible for Natalie, as it usually fell to him to watch his sister and especially the mother I often found quite annoying and prone to favourtism.


SaraKat | 167 comments Mod
Manybooks wrote: "SaraKat wrote: "This was another winner for me. It's not a book I'd have chosen for myself, but I gave 5 stars to both the first and second books. I loved the setting and the characters. I thought ..."
I wanted better for poor Moose as well, but I thought the way the parents put the responsibility on him was rather realistic. I have students his age that are responsible for multiple siblings from right after school until late at night when a parent gets home from a second job. Given the depression and lack of money that forced his mom to start teaching piano, I'm not surprised he had to be relied on. But I think his mom also was close to breaking down at times. She was with Natalie all day and it was hard for her--especially when Mrs. Kelly told her to stop letting Natalie do all the things she loved to do. Sadly, this type of life is not unusual for siblings of special needs kids.


message 7: by Manybooks (last edited Jul 15, 2018 06:49AM) (new) - added it

Manybooks | 362 comments SaraKat wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "SaraKat wrote: "This was another winner for me. It's not a book I'd have chosen for myself, but I gave 5 stars to both the first and second books. I loved the setting and the char..."

I understand that, but I for one also think that Moose should have rebelled more (and I still have issues with the fact that according to the first book, his mother actually sent him away for a time to stay with his grandparents because she was kind of blaming him for what was happening to Natalie, and he was just a small child then). I understand the situation but I really do not think that the parents are being all that fair and Moose was in many ways almost made the prime caregiver for Natalie. I guess what really bothered me the most was the mother's callous attitude of "oh well, you have to change your entire schedule now" and in a tone of voice that brooked absolutely no dissent either (for me, with the mother, it is sometimes precisely the way she approaches and talks to, reacts to Moose that bothers me and I still kind of think she is not as fond of him as she is of Natalie and Moose likely feels and realises that but is thankfully mature and decent enough to not blame his sister for this).


message 8: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1674 comments Mod
Interesting discussion. I read the book(s) several years ago, and don't remember details. But I suspect you are both right about Moose and his mother--and just because she's not fair doesn't stop it being a good book.


message 9: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks | 362 comments Rebecca wrote: "Interesting discussion. I read the book(s) several years ago, and don't remember details. But I suspect you are both right about Moose and his mother--and just because she's not fair doesn't stop i..."

I actually have not yet gotten to the second book as I wanted to reread the first one, and the one thing that does bother me is the author's writing style, as Moose et al do at least for me not sound all that 1930s but rather more like 1950s America.


message 10: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks | 362 comments Rebecca wrote: "Interesting discussion. I read the book(s) several years ago, and don't remember details. But I suspect you are both right about Moose and his mother--and just because she's not fair doesn't stop i..."

I found Moose's mother not likable but pretty realistic.


message 11: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1674 comments Mod
That's another interesting point. Because if I'd been asked, I think I'd have said that the setting was 1950s, though of course that couldn't be right, given when Al Capone was there. But it does suggest that you are right about tone, just going by my vague impressions. I really ought to re-read if I'm going to talk about this!


message 12: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks | 362 comments Rebecca wrote: "That's another interesting point. Because if I'd been asked, I think I'd have said that the setting was 1950s, though of course that couldn't be right, given when Al Capone was there. But it does s..."

For me, the only thing that really said 1930s was Al Capone as everything else felt considerably more recent.


Georgie | 39 comments I really enjoyed this book. I loved the friendship between Moose, Annie, Theresa, Jimmy, and Piper, particularly how difficult it was at times for them as they negotiated the tricky twists and turns of friendship at that age.
I was caught up in the danger/adventure side of the plot, and was surprised by the dark turn it took towards the end, which was actually quite scary. Seven Fingers!
The setting of 1930s Alcatraz was interesting, though like others here, I felt that the mentions of Al Capone were the only thing that solidly grounded it in the 1930s, otherwise it could have been the 1950s.
I too had issues with both of Mouse's parents. Though I haven't read the first book, I was just so sad for Moose when he was constantly surprised by his mother's changed attitude towards him.
I also was annoyed at his dad for not standing up more to Trixle. I get that he didn't want to make trouble and needed to keep his job, but Trixle does some pretty mean stuff that another adult should have called him out on.
What did you guys think of Piper? I mean, she was pretty awful at times (though of course there's a reason for that) but I was annoyed at how initially Moose kept giving her a pass because she's pretty. That said, I think that was believable for an almost 12-year-old boy. And I can understand why Piper acted the way she did....sort of. I also felt quite sorry for Annie, and Moose's descriptions of her 'big' and 'square' - poor girl! But again, that was believable for his character and the age he's at.
I think Theresa was my favourite character, she had a lot of sense and spunk despite her young age.


message 14: by J.S. (new) - added it

J.S. Jaeger (jsjaeger) | 171 comments I liked the concept of this story and the parts of the story that furthered the storyline. The filler parts that made me fill stuck in junior high drama drove me crazy.


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