Bookworm Burrow

Book reviews on over 125 different books from several different genres. Use the search or categories to see more.

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck January 25, 2008

a-long-way-from-chicago.jpgA Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

Genre: Preteen Fiction

Published in 1998

Recommended Age Group: 8 and Up

Summary: A Long Way from Chicago, is a novel in short stories. Joey, who is nine in the first one, tells these stories over the summers from 1929 to 1935 when he and his sister Mary Alice go to visit their Grandma Dowdel. They have a lot of interesting adventures over the course of the years. They see a dead body, catch some local boys causing trouble, help feed an old lady, enter a baking contest, fly in an airplane, help some trapped lovers escape, get a friends house back from the bank, and participate and win all the contests in the Centennial program. Through these adventures the children learn lessons about life, themselves, and their Grandma and they create memories to last a lifetime.

Personal Notes: I really struggled getting though this book. The stories were interesting and fun but they just didn’t grab me. It took me 9 days to read it and it’s only 142 pages written for ages 8 and up. Being a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award Finalist I expected it to be great but was disappointed. It may be because I’m a 25 year-old female and this was probably written for boys. I’ve run into this problem before with some books by Beverly Cleary. It would be best with a young male audience.

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Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat July 22, 2007

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fiction,Short Story Collections — Julie @ 5:47 pm

krikkrak.jpgKrik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat

Genre: Short Story Collection

Publication Date: 1991

Recommended Age Group: 15 and Up

Summary: Krik? Krak! Is another good collection of short stories by Edwidge Dandicat. It deals with the life and cultures of Haitians either in Haiti or in the U.S. “Children of the Sea” is about these two people who are writing to each other in notebooks that they will trade when they are able to see each other again. One is a boy on a boat to America and the other is a girl who is forced to stay in Haiti. “Nineteen Thirty-Seven” is about this woman who goes to see her mother who is in prison and it talks about their visits and how the daughter has a hard time talking to her mother while she is locked up. “A Wall of Fire Rising” is about a man who doesn’t see a way out of his poverty and life. He eventually steals a hot air balloon and commits suicide by jumping out of it. “Night Women” is about this prostitute who is trying to get money so that her and her son can survive, she lies to her son to keep him innocent and hides what she is really doing. “Between the Pool and the Gardenias” is about a woman who is unable to have children but finds one on the street only to realize later that it is dead. “The Missing Peace” is a story about a woman who comes from another country looking for her mother and suspects that she is dead. She takes a native girl with her and they are confronted by soldiers in the middle of their search and are forced to give it up. “Seeing things Simply” is about a native girl, Princesse, and Catherine, a painter from Guadeloupe and their interactions together. The painter tries to catch the essence of Princesse’s people by painting her. “New York Day Women” is about a woman and her mother who have come to New York from Haiti and the daughter is following her mother around to find out what she does with her time. “Caroline’s Wedding” is about a girl who marries someone who isn’t Haitian and the story of her trying to win over her mother’s approval because of who he is. The epilogue ties all of the stories together and tells us why Danticat chose to write and what it means to her.

Personal Notes: I loved this book; I liked the way that all the stories tied in together. I think this says something about Haitian culture as Danticat says in the epilogue everyone is tied to where they came from and to their family. Her goal in writing is to help them speak out and to let other people know what the people of Haiti are like and why. I think it was a very telling set of stories and it taught me a lot about Haiti, something I didn’t know very much about previously and got me interested to learn more.

 

Jump and Other Stories by Nadine Gordimer July 21, 2007

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fiction,Juvenile,Short Story Collections — Julie @ 10:28 am

Jump and Other Stories by Nadine Gordimer

Genre: Short Story Collection

Publication Date: 1991

Recommended Age Group: 16 and Up

Summary: Jump and Other Stories is a collection of sixteen rather entertaining and enjoyable stories. Each one has a message to share about a culture and adds insight into what people of these places are like. Most of them seem to add messages too, some a little buried and some more prominent. The settings range from suburban London, to Mozambique, then a mythical island, and finally South Africa. “Jump” the first story in the collection, is about a man who was involved in military operations in Africa until he found out what was really going on and how the people were being treated. Then he went to the other side to tell them his side’s secrets and to tell the news people what was going on. He tries to get the images out of his head but they won’t seem to go away. In the end of the story he is considering jumping out of a window but he doesn’t think it is the time. “One Upon a Time” is a story about a family in Africa who is trying to protect their family. They keep getting a more and more involved fence until it has barbed wire on the top and is impossible to get across. Their son, while playing, gets tangled in the barbed wire and is severely injured. “The Ultimate Safari” is about a family who comes from Mozambique and crosses the country in search of a better place to live, one that is not so terrorized, and it discusses what happens to them along the way. “A Find” is about a man who has almost given up on women until he finds a ring on the beach and in an effort to find the owner finds a new companion in life. “My Father Leaves Home” is the story of a family trying to “make a go of it” in a foreign country and all the problems that go along with this. “Some Are Born to Sweet Delight” this is a story about how a girl falls in love with a foreigner who is staying with her parents and ends up as the carrier for a bomb in an act of international terrorism. There were many other stories but I thought these were the best and most affective.

Personal Notes: I really enjoyed this book, but not the same way that I would enjoy something like Harry Potter. I liked the way Gordimer used a short of shock value style of writing to get her readers attention. She made her point very nicely. I think this would be a very good book to get people talking about government and different problems that are facing the world. They place these problems right in front of you and it isn’t possible to turn the other way and pretend that they aren’t there. Because of some of the material contained in it I think this book would be mainly for the more mature reader. I wrote they should be juniors or seniors in high school but this doesn’t mean they are mature. I think a class or person should be considered carefully before they are given this book because these issues aren’t something that should be treated lightly or just passed over.