Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday, Monday

Some announcements:
I updated the storytelling page.  I added a game and check out Mary Wright's blog entry about Kathy Pierce's Memorial Service.
My Dad's pathology report came back clean.
I read a whole lot of books that I never mentioned here, like Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher. So here's a review.

Bobby Steele and his best friends, Big Poobs and Marcus, are at IHOP one day, bored and desperate for something to do, when they find an application for Whitestone Prep - the private school in town.  They decide to create a fictional character and apply.  Guess what?  Their creation - Rowan Pohi - gets accepted.

What a hoot!  After celebrating, they consign Rowan and his acceptance letter to a shallow grave.  But Bobby sneaks back and retrieves it.  He is the only one of the three who has the grades good enough for Whitestone Prep and the only one who wants to go to college.   So, why not play along for awhile?  What could it hurt?  After all, the administration at Whitestone would see through the prank right away, right?  And then he'd just go back to public school and rot. 

The subplot of his family life adds a desperation to Bobby's attempt to better his future.  His father  recently got out of jail for abusing Bobby's mother.  Bobby's mother left.  Bobby's younger brother depends on Bobby for afterschool care and meals.  How could someone with a background like that hope to fit in with the richy-rich and squeaky clean students at Whitestone Prep?

For the most part, Fletcher makes this work.  Adults are willing to suspend belief at a private school.  After all, only the right people want to apply.  Rowan/Bobby works hard to be a good student and a good athlete and he has just enough swagger to be believable.  One part of this book that bothered me - and I read the ARC so this might be polished in the final product - was Bobby's essay to win a scholarship.  I thought it read like an essay written by an adult who was trying to write like a teen, which of course it is.  This is a tiny little complaint in a book that is full of tension of the non-violent kind.

Another part that bothered me was an attempt to make Bobby's father more sympathetic.  What he did to Bobby's mother was freaking awful!   But, you know how something wiggles in the back of your mind and just won't quit?  I can't say I think Bobby's father's actions could ever be condoned but the more this thought wiggles in my brain, the more I see where Fletcher is going with this.  Life is never simple. 

So, yeah, if you want a book where the underdog takes on the snobs and might even prevail, read Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher.  I wonder where they got Rowan's last name.

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